NTSB Identification: CHI93LA016.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 48248.
Accident occurred Saturday, October 24, 1992 in LUDINGTON, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/14/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-180, registration: N6345P
Injuries: 4 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 PILOT STATED SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF, THE AIRPLANE '...LOST THE ABILITY TO CLIMB/MAINTAIN ALTITUDE.' EMERGENCY PROCEDURES WERE UNSUCCESSFUL, AND THE AIRPLANE SETTLED INTO THE TREE TOPS. POSTACCIDENT EXAMINATION REVEALED NO EVIDENCE OF PREIMPACT PROPELLER ASSEMBLY FAILURE. AN ENGINE TEARDOWN REVEALED THE TOP PISTON RING IN THE #1 CYLINDER WAS BROKEN, WITH NO EVIDENCE OF SCORING ON THE CYLINDER WALL. THE RIGHT MAGNETO OPERATION WAS INTERMITTENT, ESPECIALLY AT HIGHER RPM SETTINGS. THE ENGINE TOTAL TIME WAS 3,169.9 HOURS, AND TIME SINCE MAJOR OVERHAUL WAS 2,064.5 HOURS. THE AIRPLANE HAD OPERATED 2.4 HOURS SINCE THE MOST RECENT ANNUAL INSPECTION.

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

THE PARTIAL LOSS OF ENGINE POWER DURING THE INITIAL CLIMB OUT ON A NIGHT FLIGHT.

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