NTSB Identification: CHI00LA243.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 05, 2000 in OSBORNE, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-36-285, registration: N57616
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The agricultural airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a gear collapse during a forced landing while returning from spraying operations. The airplane was found resting in a soft farm field of wheat stubble. The pilot was fatally injured. The seat belt cable and shoulder harness cable were found separated. The separated areas exhibited signatures consistent with tensile overload. The pilot was not wearing a helmet and the manual control for the shoulder harness inertia reel was found in the unlocked position. The engine was examined and the number four cylinder was found to be compromised. A portion of the piston pin was protruding through a hole in the cylinder wall. Examination of the number four piston and intake valve revealed that the valve failed due to overstress. Portions of the piston skirt had fractured and separated from the piston. The fracture surfaces on the piston contained severe mechanical damage that obscured the fracture surface features. One side of the piston skirt exhibited damage consistent with the piston rotating about the piston pin and the connecting rod impacting the skirt. No other anomalies were found that could be associated with a preexisting condition.

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

The unsuitable terrain for landing encountered by the pilot during the forced landing. Factors were the failure of the number four piston and cylinder, the soft terrain, and the main landing gear overload and subsequent collapse.

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