NTSB Identification: FTW99LA032.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 20, 1998 in NEW IBERIA, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA32-300, registration: N2881U
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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's engine experienced a catastrophic failure during cruise climb. The airplane impacted a tree and fence during the forced landing near a residential area. The airplane's maintenance records revealed that the engine had been overhauled on August 20, 1991, and had accumulated 1,423.49 hours since then. Examination of the engine revealed that the number 6 connecting rod had failed in 'overload' and was a 'secondary failure.' One of the connecting rod's bolt and nut assemblies was then examined. The nut was cut and split in the threaded area. The first two threads of the nut, adjacent to the contact surface, were found 'stripped.' Additionally, 'no scuff marks were observed' on the copper plating in the undamaged portion of the nut contact surface. It was determined that the two stripped threads were the result of the nut backing off during operation, and the lack of a scuff mark on the nut's contact surface was the result of it being improperly torqued during installation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The mechanic's failure to properly torque the connecting rod's bolt and nut during engine overhaul. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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