NTSB Identification: LAX00LA039.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 20, 1999 in HILO, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N4148X
Injuries: 2 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 pilot ditched the airplane at sea following the failure and seizure of the engine. The FAA had issued a special airworthiness certificate for a ferry flight for the new airplane on November 15, 1999. The airplane had been modified with a special 110-gallon synthetic fuel bladder located behind the pilot's seat. The airplane took off at 0630 PST for the trans Pacific flight to Hawaii, and eventually Sydney, Australia. The pilot said that the flight was normal until they were approximately 600 nautical miles from Hilo, when they noticed a gradual loss of oil pressure accompanied by an increasing oil temperature. The pilot called the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance and they launched an airplane to provide an escort towards Hilo. The pilot stated that the engine seized when they were approximately 340 miles from Hilo. A complete loss of oil pressure and a knocking sound from the engine preceded the seizure. A merchant ship rescued the pilot and his passenger after they spent about 10 hours in the ocean. The pilot stated that the airplane had undergone a 50-hour inspection, and that it had about 35-38 hours total time on it when it sank.

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

An oil starvation induced failure and seizure of the engine. The reasons for the oil starvation event are undetermined.

Full narrative available

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