NTSB Identification: ATL01LA103.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 06, 2001 in Lincolnton, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2002
Aircraft: North American P51-D, registration: N551CB
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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

While cruising at 8,000 feet, the pilot noticed coolant on the windshield. While descending through the clouds toward the nearest airport, the airplane's cockpit filled with smoke and condensation. The airplane broke out of the clouds at approximately 1,200 feet, and the pilot headed it toward an unpopulated wooded area. The airplane's engine seized as the pilot and passenger prepared to bail out, and they were thrown clear. Both the pilot and passenger pulled their parachute ripcords and fell into trees. Examination of the wreckage revealed the cowl flap was crushed in the open position. A small amount of fluid was found in the radiator. The water pump and accessory assembly were destroyed.

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

A cooling system failure, that resulted in a total loss of coolant and the subsequent loss of engine power. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for an emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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