NTSB Identification: IAD00FA076
Accident occurred Friday, August 18, 2000 in KENNEBUNKPORT, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301, registration: N411JL
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious,2 Minor.

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.

The airplane was in cruise flight at 9,000 feet over the ocean when a loud bang was heard from the engine compartment and the windshield was covered with oil. The pilot said that the engine produced partial power before the engine and propeller stopped. The pilot ditched the airplane in the ocean. Examination of the wreckage revealed there was an 8-inch by 5-inch hole in the top of the engine case. The camshaft was exposed and completely fractured aft of the #3 intake lobe. The #4 connecting rod was fractured about mid point. The upper half of the connecting rod was attached to the piston pin, and the piston was staked in the cylinder. The lower half of the #4 connecting rod and its corresponding bearing cap were not attached to the crankshaft, and were not recovered. The #2 and #6 connecting rods displayed heat damage, while the #4 did not. Metallurgical examination of the recovered portions of the #4 connecting rod revealed failure modes consistent with overstress, but no evidence of a primary failure mode was evident on the recovered components. Examination of the engine maintenance records revealed that the #2 cylinder was removed, repaired, and re-installed 1,020 flight hours prior to the accident.

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

Fracture of the #4 connecting rod for undetermined reasons, which resulted in a loss of engine power. A factor was the forced ocean ditching.

Full narrative available

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