NTSB Identification: CHI97LA299.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 24, 1997 in CHAMPAIGN, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/1998
Aircraft: Beech C23, registration: N1851Z
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.

The instructor pilot (CFI) said that they were 4 miles from the airport, and in radio contact with the control tower, when the airplane's engine began to run rough and the rpm dropped from 2500 to 2200 rpm. The CFI notified the control tower and requested a closer runway. The CFI trouble shot the problem, but said '. . . nothing worked, and the rpm dropped to 2000. . . . Oil began to cover the windscreen and [oil] pressure dropped to zero. [The] rpm was decreasing and I believed seizure was eminent.' The CFI 'pulled the mixture to lean' and attempted to glide to the runway, but noted that he was low in altitude. 'I sidestepped to aim for the grass and avoid [the runway] lighting and the localizer. I couldn't make the grass, so I landed in the corn.' Examination of the engine revealed that all eight valve lifters were broken. Examination of the lifters and lifter pieces showed brittle fractures due to overload. Some areas on the lifter faces showed evidence of heavy loading from the camshaft.

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

an undetermined engine and/or oil system failure that resulted in an oil leak and subsequent loss of engine power. A related factor was: high vegetation (corn crop) in the emergency landing area.

Full narrative available

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