NTSB Identification: ATL97LA084.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 05, 1997 in COLUMBUS, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N7581W
Injuries: 2 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.
While en route back to the departure airport, after a series of maneuvers, the engine sputtered, then lost power. All attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing in a cornfield. Later a mechanic determined that the engine air filter was corroded, which allowed pieces of aluminum to 'flake off' and be ingested into the carburetor. There was evidence that these pieces blocked the carburetor air intake, causing air starvation in the engine. Piper Service Bulletin, Number 975, was issued which recommended maintenance or replacement of a seal around the landing light. Cracking of this seal could allowed standing water to corrode the air filter. The service bulletin was not complied with.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: inadequate maintenance/inspection and subsequent corrosion of the air filter, which resulted in pieces of the air filter to block the intake to the carburetor and result in loss of engine power. A factor relating to the accident was: failure of maintenance personnel to comply with a manufacturer's Service Bulletin. Full narrative available
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