NTSB Identification: CHI97LA050.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 19, 1996 in RED OAK, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-46, registration: N446RD
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The temperature at takeoff was about 0 degrees F. The aircraft had been kept in an unheated hangar. An oil heater was installed on the aircraft. Oil pressure was in the yellow arc during departure and it stayed in the yellow arc during the flight. The pilot continued the flight although suitable airports were available for precautionary landings. After about 30 to 45 minutes of flight, the prop started surging and the oil pressure went 'way down.' After about a minute, the engine started knocking and quit. The pilot executed a forced landing. After the accident, oil was all over the top of the engine, the oil cap was on tight, and about 4 quarts of oil still showed on the oil dipstick. The engine inspection revealed a hole in the crankcase above the number 2 and 4 cylinders. The number 2, 3, and 5 connecting rod bearings were burned with signs of meltdown. The number 4 connecting rod and bearing had separated from the crankshaft and exhibited heat damage and failure. The oil passages were checked and no obstructions were found. The oil cooler was checked and fluids flowed through the cooler.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's inadequate preflight and failure to make a precautionary landing. Additional factors included oil starvation and the failed connecting rod and rod bearing.

Full narrative available

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