NTSB Identification: LAX01LA154.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 22, 2001 in OXNARD, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/28/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-135, registration: N75343
Injuries: 2 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 airplane made an off field forced landing following a loss of engine power during climb out from a touch-and-go landing. The pilot had practiced touch-and-go landings for over an hour and experienced no difficulties with the airplane. After a break, he completed another preflight inspection and practiced more landings. As the airplane climbed through 200 feet on the fourth takeoff, the engine made a clunking noise and stopped producing power. He steered the airplane to an open field and landed on soft dirt, but the airplane dug in and damaged the wings, stabilizer, landing gear, and propeller. The engine had accumulated about 1,860 hours since it had been manufactured in 1953, and the factory had no record of it returning since that time. The engine had accumulated about 910 hours since a field overhaul in 1960, and about 255 hours since a "top overhaul" in 1970, when the exhaust valves were replaced. All cylinders were undamaged except cylinder No. 3, which exhibited extensive mechanical damage. The exhaust valve for cylinder No. 3 fractured and separated where the valve stem transitions to the valve head. The fracture surfaces on the valve pieces were obliterated by the mechanical damage. The piston face exhibited mechanical damage over most of its surface, which contained two holes. The corresponding push rod was slightly bent, but there was no evidence of the valve sticking.

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

The fracture and separation of the number 3 cylinder exhaust valve head resulting in a loss of engine power and a forced landing. A factor in the accident was the soft field where the forced landing occurred.

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