NTSB Identification: DEN01LA149.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 18, 2001 in Rock Springs, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-32RT-300, registration: N3015L
Injuries: 4 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 private pilot was flying the single-engine airplane in cruise flight, when the "aircraft experienced a prop[eller] runaway and loss of oil pressure." The engine began to lose power, so the pilot established the aircraft in a glide toward a dirt road. At 700 feet agl, "a connecting rod poked through the cowling and oil covered the windshield." Due to reduced vision and the unknown condition of the roadway, the pilot elected to make a landing gear retracted landing. The airplane came to rest upright on the shoulder of the road. Examination of the engine revealed that there was no oil present in the engine. The oil filter converter plate gasket was found protruding from around the adapter plate, and a 1/4-inch section of the gasket was missing. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) was issued that addressed the oil filter converter plate gasket on engines that had been factory overhauled after April 1, 1999. The AD required the replacement of the oil filter converter plate gasket before further flight on engines with more than 50 hours time since new, time since overhaul, or time since the last replacement of the gasket or converter plate, and thereafter every 50 hours time in service since the last replacement of the gasket. Non compliance with the AD could result in the protruding or swelling of the converter plate gasket and subsequent loss of engine oil. The engine had been factory overhauled and shipped from the factory on February 18, 2000. At the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated 425 hours since the overhaul. Examination of the engine maintenance records revealed that the AD had not been previously complied with.

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

the mechanic's failure to perform an airworthiness directive, which resulted in the loss of engine oil through a partially failed oil filter converter plate gasket, and subsequent failure of a connecting rod during cruise flight. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the ensuing forced landing.

Full narrative available

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