NTSB Identification: CHI00LA103.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 02, 2000 in PINE CITY, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/19/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N54454
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane encountered an in-flight loss of engine power and sustained substantial damage on impact with a fence and vegetation during a forced landing in a field. The pilot had minor injury. The passenger was uninjured. The engine's number four cylinder's exhaust valve spring and valve were found failed. The valve spring had a 45-degree fracture approximately 0.75 inches from an end. The valve head was found with approximately a third of its' face fractured off. A section of valve head was found within the cylinder. The valve head's face and head section had indentations. The pilot stated, 'With the lake to our west, a bunch of trees to our north, a house to our south behind us, when the engine quit. I chose to turn 90[degrees] to the east fly under some high tension wires, which I knew I could do safely, to a field on the other side. The field was not very wide, but I felt it was safer for landing without any houses close by. Being 200 to 300 feet above the ground I didn't have the altitude to turn 180[degrees] and land in the field below. I could not get stopped in the narrow field, so consequently we went through the barb wire fence on the east side and hit a clump of bushes with our left wing, which brought us to a stop.'

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

A loss of engine power due to the failure of the number four cylinder's exhaust valve spring and exhaust valve. Contributing to the accident were, the barbwire fence and the clump of high vegetation encountered by the airplane.

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