NTSB Identification: ATL91FA077.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44663.
Accident occurred Saturday, April 06, 1991 in MOCKSVILLE, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/24/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 172D, registration: N2936U
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

DURING CRUISE FLIGHT IN NIGHT, VFR CONDITIONS, THE ENGINE REPORTEDLY QUIT. DURING THE FORCED LANDING ATTEMPT, THE AIRPLANE STALLED, THEN COLLIDED WITH THE TERRAIN IN A STEEP, NOSE-DOWN ATTITUDE. POST-CRASH INVESTIGATION AND ENGINE RUN REVEALED THAT 6 OF THE 12 IGNITION HARNESS WIRE CIRCUITS WERE OPEN FROM THE MAGNETOS TO THE SPARK PLUGS. THE ENGINE WOULD RUN ON A TEST STAND, HOWEVER THREE CYLINDERS WERE COLD TO THE TOUCH AFTER THE RUN. ENGINE CONTINUITY WAS ESTABLISHED, AND THE MAGNETOS TESTED SATISFACTORILY ON A TEST BENCH. THE IGNITION HARNESS APPEARED OLD AND WORN, AND THE AIRPLANE HAD BEEN FLOWN ONLY 41 HOURS IN THE PREVIOUS 4 YEARS.

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

THE LOSS OF ENGINE POWER DUE TO OPEN CIRCUITS IN THE IGNITION WIRING HARNESS, AND THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN FLYING AIRSPEED DURING THE FORCED LANDING ATTEMPT. FACTORS IN THIS ACCIDENT WERE THE DARK NIGHT LIGHTING CONDITIONS AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT.

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