NTSB Identification: FTW02LA108.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 30, 2002 in Grapeland, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Mooney M20F, registration: N9530M
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.

Approximately 25 minutes after departure, while in cruise flight at 1,500 feet msl a sudden vibration shook the airplane. The pilot scanned the engine instruments and everything "appeared to be normal." Subsequently, oil covered the windscreen, which severely limited forward visibility. The pilot initiated a forced landing to a grass field with the landing gear in the retracted position. During the landing, the airplane bounced, and the left wing "skimmed" across the top of a metal cattle feeder before impacting the ground, and the airplane spun around approximately 450 degrees before coming to rest upright. Examination of the engine revealed two holes on the top and bottom of the engine case between the #1 and #2 cylinders. The #2 connecting rod was found sticking out of the top hole and was not attached to the crankshaft. The #2 connecting rod cap was found separated from the connecting rod. The #2 connecting rod cap attachment bolts, nut, and both bearings were missing and not located. The other attachment bolt was found lodged inside the crankcase next to the #3 cylinder opening. The camshaft exhibited impact damage and was fractured in half at the point where the #2 connecting rod was found positioned. Review of the maintenance records revealed the engine had accumulated 997.75 hours since major overhaul at the time of the last annual inspection. Further review indicated that the last entry in the engine logbook was an oil change, with 1097.4 hours since major overhaul.

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

The loss of engine power due to the #2 connecting rod cap separating from the connecting rod. A contributing factor was the limited forward visibility due to oil on the windscreen.

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