NTSB Identification: CHI01LA274.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 12, 2001 in Union, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N8424W
Injuries: 1 Minor,3 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 experienced a total gear collapse during a forced landing following an inflight separation of the propeller. The pilot reported that approximately 45 minutes after takeoff, while in cruise flight at 4,000 feet msl, the crankshaft broke and the propeller separated from the engine. He reported that the windscreen was sprayed with oil and the engine seized. He reported that he proceeded to make a forced landing at a sod farm. The pilot reported the field was being prepared for planting and the recently tilled soil was very soft. Upon touching down, the landing gear stuck in the ground and it separated from the airplane. The pilot reported that the airplane slid approximately 50 feet during which time the right wing twisted. Examination of the crankshaft revealed a fatigue crack that initiated from an oil transfer tube hole in the No. 1 main bearing journal. The airplane was involved in a propeller strike in March 1999. After the propeller strike, the engine was removed for a teardown inspection at which time the crankshaft was replaced with one that had been overhauled.

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

The total failure of the crankshaft as a result of fatigue and the unsuitable terrain encountered during the forced landing. Factors associated with the accident were the soft terrain on which the forced landing was made and the subsequent gear collapse.

Full narrative available

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