NTSB Identification: ATL89FA078.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40400.
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 18, 1989 in BAGLEY, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/18/1990
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N8456R
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

ACCORDING TO THE SURVIVING PASSENGER, A PARTIAL LOSS OF PWR OCCURRED DRG FLT & THE PLT TRIED TO LAND IN A FIELD, BUT THEFIELD WAS TOO SHORT & THE ACFT HIT TREES & CRASHED. DRG AN EXAM OF THE ENG, A METAL FRAGMENT WAS FND IN THE #3 CYLINDER.EVIDENCE OF FOREIGN OBJECT DMG (PEENING) WAS FND IN THE #2 & #3 COMBUSTION CHAMBERS & ON THEIR RESPECTIVE PISTON FACES. THE RESPECTIVE SPARK PLUGS WERE DMGD TO THE POINT THAT THEIR GROUND ELECTRODES HAD BECOME DISPLACED & SHORTED TO THE CENTER ELECTRODES. A METALLURGICAL EXAM OF THE FRAGMENT REVEALED IT WAS FM A BROKEN EXHAUST VALVE; HOWEVER, EXCEPT FOR PEENING, THE VALVES WERE INTACT. FURTHER INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE ENG HAD AN EXHAUST VALVE FAILURE IN 1980 & HAD FLOWN98 HRS SINCE THEN. PIECES OF THAT VALVE WERE NOT FND & WERE ASSUMED TO HAVE BEEN 'SPIT OUT' THRU THE EXHAUST SYS. DRG ANANNUAL INSPN ON 1/12/89, AN EXHAUST VALVE FRAGMENT WAS FND IN THE ENG MUFFLER. THE OWNER WAS NOTIFIED; THE EXHAUST PIPESWERE REMOVED & INSPECTED; NO OTHER FRAGMENTS WERE FND. THE ACFT WAS NOT EQUIPPED WITH SHOULDER HARNESSES.

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

INADEQUATE MAINTENANCE BY OTHER MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL WHICH ALLOWED A FOREIGN OBJECT TO REMAIN IN THE ENGINE AND DAMAGE/SHORT THE SPARK PLUGS IN THE #2 AND #3 CYLINDERS. TREES IN THE EMERGENCY LANDING AREA CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT. IF SHOULDER HARNESSES HAD BEEN INSTALLED AND USED, INJURY(S) MAY HAVE BEEN LESS SEVERE.

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