NTSB Identification: ATL91LA125.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44875.
Accident occurred Monday, July 08, 1991 in MYRTLE BEACH, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-12, registration: N4401M
Injuries: 1 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.

AFTER ABOUT 30 MINUTES OF OPERATION, DURING A BANNER TOW FLIGHT, THE ENGINE BEGAN TO RUN ROUGHLY. THE AIRPLANE WAS AT 300 FEET OVER THE OCEAN ADJACENT TO A PUBLIC BEACH. UNABLE TO MAINTAIN ALTITUDE THE PILOT DITCHED IN THE OCEAN TO AVOID THE CROWDED BEACH. SUBSEQUENT EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE REVEALED THAT THE NO. 4 CYLINDER EXHAUST VALVE HAD BROKEN AT THE PISTON END. THE ENGINE HAD 1939 HOURS SINCE THE LAST OVERHAUL.

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

THE FAILURE OF THE NUMBER 4 CYLINDER EXHAUST VALVE. FACTORS IN THE ACCIDENT WERE THE LACK OF A SUITABLE LANDING SITE AND THE WATER DITCHING.

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