NTSB Identification: ATL01LA095.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 26, 2001 in Homerville, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N2116G
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Less than two hours into the flight, the engine lost power during cruise. During emergency descent, the airplane struck power lines and a tree, then collided with the ground. Examination of the engine accessory case revealed the idler gear was fractured, and the two attachment holes in the crank case for the idler gear shaft assembly were elongated. Three fractured teeth from the idler gear and two separated bolt heads were recovered. The fracture surface of each gear tooth displayed crack arrest marks and a rough surface consist with high-stress, low-cycle fatigue. The shanks below each separated bolt head were worn to about one-third their original diameter. The engine received a zero-time equivalent overhaul on May 9, 1985, and operated 1371 hours since the overhaul. Textron Lycoming Service Instruction No. 1009AQ states the recommended time between overhaul periods for the engine is 2000 hours. The Lycoming parts catalog for the engine specifies a bolt is required to attach the idler gear shaft assembly at one attachment hole, and a slotted nut and stud are required to attach the idler gear shaft assembly at the other attachment hole.

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

The improper replacement of an accessory drive component with an unapproved part by maintenance personnel, which resulted in a fatigue fracture of the component and loss of engine power. The airplane subsequently collided with power lines and trees during an emergency landing.

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