NTSB Identification: LAX02LA204.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 20, 2002 in Cottonwood, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2003
Aircraft: Beech V35A, registration: N8327N
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.

During initial takeoff climb, the pilot heard a "loud bang" from the engine, followed by a smell of fuel in the cockpit, a loss of fuel pressure, and a substantial engine vibration. During an attempt to return to the airport, the engine lost power, and the pilot initiated a forced landing. During the landing, the airplane impacted a cattle gate and came to rest on its nose. Examination of the engine revealed that the #1 lower connecting rod bolt was fractured at the bolt's dowel section, which corresponded with the connecting rod and rod cap split line. According to the engine manufacturer's metallurgist, the fracture initiated at the outer diameter of the bolt's dowel section, and the fracture progressed in fatigue until the bolt fractured as a result overstress. The bolt's dowel section exhibited fretting damage at the fracture origin. At the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated 9.64 hours since the annual inspection, and 195.84 hours since major overhaul.

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

The loss of engine power as a result of the failure of the #1 lower connecting rod bolt due to fatigue.

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