NTSB Identification: FTW89LA051.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39799.
Accident occurred Friday, February 17, 1989 in CONROE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/1991
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260, registration: N3976W
Injuries: 4 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.

WHILE THE AIRCRAFT WAS CRUISING ABOVE AN OVERCAST AT NIGHT AT 7000' MSL, THE ENGINE FAILED. THE PILOT OBTAINED VECTORS TOWARD THE NEAREST AIRPORT. HE SAID THE AIRCRAFT 'BROKE OUT' OF THE CLOUDS AT ABOUT 400' AGL & HE SAW THE AIRPORT, BUT HE WAS UNABLE TO REACH IT. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH TREES AS THE PILOT MADE AN EMERGENCY LANDING AT NIGHT IN A WOODED AREA. AN EXAM OF THE ENGINE REVEALED THE CRANKSHAFT HAD FAILED FROM FATIGUE AT THE #6 JOURNAL.

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

FAILURE OF THE ENGINE CRANKSHAFT DUE TO FATIGUE. THE LOW CEILING, DARK NIGHT, AND TREES IN THE EMERGENCY LANDING AREA WERE FACTORS.

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