NTSB Identification: ATL02LA169.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 10, 2002 in Morton, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA24-250, registration: N5724P
Injuries: 1 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.

According to the pilot, while in cruise flight, the engine started running rough and loosing power. Smoke was entering the cockpit and a clanking noise could be heard coming from the engine. The pilot elected to make a forced landing on I-20 West. The pilot forgot to put the gear down and landed on the I-20 guard railing separating the east and west bound lanes substantially damaging the fuselage and wings. The engine was removed and sent to Textron Lycoming for further examination. Examination of the bottom number one and number four spark plugs, revealed oil and heavy carbon debris. Heavy carbon debris was found in the exhaust valve guide area. The number four exhaust valve was stuck in the open position. The number four exhaust valve tip end had damage signatures consistent with operating without the rotator cap. The rotator cap was located at the bottom of the number four rocker cover. The number four exhaust valve stem was observed straight when placed on the optical comparator in the Lycoming Metrology laboratory. The number four piston dome had a circular signature consistent with an impact mark from the exhaust valve. The number four cylinder exhaust push rod and shroud tube was broken separated from the engine as received. The number four cylinder exhaust hydraulic lifter was found below leak down specification minimums.

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

Contamination in the exhaust valve guide area which caused the binding of the exhaust valve in the open position.

Full narrative available

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