NTSB Identification: CHI02LA159.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 11, 2002 in Hot Springs, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Galbraith Piel Emeraude, registration: N71PE
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The amateur-built aircraft sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain following a loss of power and subsequent loss of control on initial climb. An eyewitness observed the aircraft takeoff and climb to approximately 200 - 300 feet agl. He reported that the aircraft made a sharp right turn and went nose down for one and a half turns before impacting the field. Another witness to the accident observed a white streak behind the airplane after takeoff. The witness reported that the aircraft appeared to turn back to the airport before the engine noise decreased and the airplane went nose down toward the ground. The number three cylinder was removed during an engine teardown and the connecting rod was found broken at the crank journal. The number three cylinder connecting rod sections and rod cap, including the connecting rod bolts and nuts, were submitted to NTSB Materials laboratory for examination. The two connecting rod sections located at the base of the rod caps exhibited fractures that had thumbnail shapes and arrest marks indicative of fatigue propogation.

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

The loss of engine power due to the connecting rod fatigue failure during takeoff climb.

Full narrative available

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