NTSB Identification: SEA01LA057.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 03, 2001 in Moses Lake, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/2001
Aircraft: Cassutt II, registration: N1431
Injuries: 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 pilot reported that while en route, "the oil pressure dropped rapidly followed by decreasing engine RPM." He stated that he decided to land on a frontage road for an interstate highway. During his approach, he "noticed a lot of dark smoke coming from the starboard side of [the] engine just as I was starting to turn final." The pilot reported , "During base to final turn airspeed was allowed to decay causing excessive sink rate and not completing the turn on centerline for landing." He stated that "touchdown was made in soft sand with high vertical speed causing [the aircraft's] landing gear to fail and [the] nose of [the] aircraft to get in the dirt." An FAA inspector who examined the aircraft after the accident observed that a wrist pin plug in the engine had failed, producing metal that entered the engine oil system and restricted oil flow to the crankshaft. The connecting rod bearings were also found severely distressed. The airplane had not been operated for approximately 17 years before the pilot purchased it shortly before the accident. The engine log contained no indication that the engine manufacturer's recommended engine preservation procedures for storage had been followed during this time period. However, the aircraft received a condition inspection about one month before the accident and was signed off as being found in a condition for safe operation.

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

Failure of a wrist pin plug in the engine, resulting in partial blockage of the engine lubrication system and partial failure of the engine connecting rod bearings; and the pilot's subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed during a forced landing approach, resulting in a stall.

Full narrative available

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