NTSB Identification: FTW97LA322.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 21, 1997 in COLUMBUS, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: Rockwell S-2R, registration: N4893X
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 airplane impacted terrain following a loss of engine power while maneuvering. The pilot stated 'on the final pass [he] pulled up out of the field and initiated a turn towards Deming, when an object came through the right corner windshield striking [him] in the head,' rendering him unconscious. A witness who was approximately 1 mile from the accident site stated that he saw the airplane 'flying straight and then nose into the ground.' The witness did not hear any engine noises. Several workers, in a nearby field, reported that they observed the airplane pull out of the field and start to turn, when the engine quit. The owner examined the engine and determined that the exhaust side rocker box and exhaust valve mechanism had broken off the number 7 cylinder. There was a 'deep groove' on the back side of a propeller blade. The owner stated that the rocker box could have been ejected from the engine and contacted a propeller blade which deflected the rocker box into the cabin.

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

a loss of engine power due to failure of an exhaust side rocker box and valve mechanism, and pilot incapacitation due to loss of consciousness after being struck in the head by parts separating from the engine.

Full narrative available

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