NTSB Identification: CHI02FA177.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 26, 2002 in Steward, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N76SA
Injuries: 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.

The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a soybean field. The pilot reported that while in cruise flight the engine shuttered and developed serious vibration. The pilot stated that "at 3,500 feet engine ejected right rear cylinder head. Cowling stayed hinged on left. Oil spray on windshield and fire on lower right of firewall." The pilot reported that he shut down the engine and "tried to make Staton Airport but had [to perform a] forced landing in bean field. Damaged right wing in forced landing." Inspection of the engine verified that the number three cylinder had separated during flight. The cylinder was never located and/or recovered. The number three piston and connecting rod had separated from the crankshaft and were located at the bottom of the engine compartment. All of the number three cylinder through bolts and case studs were fractured. Several of the through bolts and studs had fracture features that were consistent with fatigue. The remaining bolts and studs had fracture features that were consistent with overload.

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

A loss of engine power due to the fatigue failure of several number three cylinder through bolts and case studs, which resulted in the separation of the number three engine cylinder. A factor contributing to the accident was the rough terrain.

Full narrative available

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