NTSB Identification: LAX02FA144.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 26, 2002 in Fullerton, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 177B, registration: N177DP
Injuries: 2 Minor,1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
During cruise flight, the airplane's engine seized and the pilot made a forced landing. During the landing flare over a baseball field, the airplane collided with poles and came to rest partially inverted. The airplane had been operated about 188 hours since last receiving an annual inspection on April 5, 2001, approximately 1 calendar year prior to the accident. Upon completion of the 2001 inspection, repair station personnel, who maintained the airplane for the pilot-owner, reported in the airplane's maintenance logbook that (emergency) airworthiness directive (AD) number 2000-18-53 was not applicable. This was an error. The repair station failed to note that the AD was pertinent to the oil filter converter plate gasket it had installed in the airplane's engine, and it should have so indicated by making an appropriate maintenance logbook entry. Compliance with the AD required, in part, that the gasket be replaced on a recurring 50-hour basis. The FAA indicated that gasket replacement was warranted because "...protruding or swelling of the gasket allows oil to leak from between the plate and the accessory housing. This condition, if not corrected, could result in complete loss of engine oil and subsequent seizing of the engine...." During the Safety Board investigator's examination of the airplane, only 8 ounces of oil were found in the 8-quart capacity oil sump, and the bottom of the airplane was oil soaked. The oil leak originated from a breach in the oil converter plate gasket. A 3/4-inch-long section of the gasket material was observed protruding from between the plate and the accessory housing. The engine's seizure was attributed to the loss of engine oil emanating from the extruded converter plate gasket, resulting in lubricating deprivation to the internal reciprocating components.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The total loss of engine power during cruise flight resulting from oil exhaustion. The oil exhaustion resulted from deterioration and total failure of the oil filter converter plate gasket, which had not been replaced due to maintenance personnel's failure to comply with an airworthiness directive.
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