NTSB Identification: CHI02LA186.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 08, 2002 in Kaiser/Lake Oza, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 175, registration: N175HL
Injuries: 5 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 a forced landing into a hayfield, the aircraft was substantially damaged when it impacted a perimeter tree line. Shortly after takeoff, the airplane's performance was "somewhat sluggish and was slow to accelerate up to 100 mph", according to the pilot. He reported that approximately five miles from the airport at 400 ft agl, the engine suffered a "catastrophic loss of power." He noted that returning to the airport was not possible due to the developing descent rate and that options for a forced landing site were limited due to the terrain. A small hay field was selected, however, he was unable to stop prior to the tree line at the edge of the field. A post-accident engine examination by the FAA inspector on-scene noted that the left magneto drive gear had malfuntioned, producing an erratic spark distribution and resulting in a significant loss of engine performance. The pilot reported having engine problems the day before the accident flight. He returned to the departure airport and consulted a mechanic. A loose spark plug lead was secured and a non-firing spark plug was replaced. The mechanic's statement noted that the airplane still was not developing rated static RPM's and was not within tolerances on the magneto checks. He determined that the left magneto needed to be replaced or repaired. The pilot's statement reported that the engine performance was within specifications, and that the mechanic indicated replacement of the left magneto was optional. No logbook entry was made for the work done. In addition, the accident flight was conducted with a total of five occupants on-board: two adults and three children. This exceeded the number of approved seats/seat belts installed.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's decision to conduct the flight with a known deficiency in the aircraft, a failure by the pilot to execute a precautionary landing due to "sluggish" performance during takeoff, the loss of engine power due to the malfunction of the left magneto, and the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing. Contributing factors were the low ambient light due to the time of day (night), and the tree line at the edge of the field. Full narrative available
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