NTSB Identification: CHI02LA268.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 03, 2002 in Cottage Grove, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Rebholz Rans S-10, registration: N92PD
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 airplane impacted terrain during a forced landing attempt, following a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. A witness reported that approximately 30-40 seconds after the takeoff roll was initiated, he heard the pilot announce over the Unicom frequency, "Mayday, Mayday, my engine quit." The witness reported the airplane was about 200 feet above ground level (agl) and the left wing of the airplane was perpendicular to the ground. The witness stated the airplane was turning toward the south when it impacted a cornfield adjacent to the airport. The witness thought the pilot was attempting to return to the airport. The witness reported the pilot had problems with the aircraft engine approximately one-year prior, and had repaired the engine subsequent to a forced landing. The accident flight was the first flight since the engine repair. The engine was found seized and a teardown inspection was performed. The aft piston had seized to its cylinder as a result of a heat seizure. There was evidence another seizure event that had occurred prior to the accident flight. According to the engine manufacturer, a heat seizure is a condition that occurs when the exhaust gas temperature exceeds 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting piston expansion exceeds the manufacturer's design tolerances and the piston seizes to the cylinder wall. The minimum temperature required for a heat seizure is reduced if the piston is contaminated during a previous seizure event and is not repaired.

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

The pilot's decision to turn back to the airport following the loss of engine power during initial climb, the pilot not maintaining airspeed and aircraft control, which resulted in the stall at a low altitude. An additional cause was the seizure of the engine piston resulting in the total loss of engine power.

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