NTSB Identification: LAX02LA292.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 21, 2002 in DEL MAR, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 172RG, registration: N6303V
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.

The airplane made an off airport forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot reported that approximately 20 minutes after takeoff, the engine stopped, and he made a forced landing in a dirt field. During the landing roll, the nose wheel fell into a culvert, which resulted in substantial damage to airframe structural members. The previous night, another pilot reported an "rpm bump" to maintenance personnel. They discovered a leak in the oil cooler return line and it was repaired. It was later determined that the rpm topped out at over 3,000 rpm, which requires engine disassembly and inspection in accordance with the applicable overhaul manual by Textron Lycoming Service Bulletin (SB) 3691. The SB defines an overspeed as an increase of no more than 10 percent of rated engine rpm for a period not exceeding 3 seconds. In Chart 11 of SB 3691, the engine overspeed described was greater than 10 percent, which requires engine disassembly and inspection in accordance with the applicable overhaul manual. The maximum rated speed on the engine was 2,970 rpm. The rod cap separated from the rod on the number 3 cylinder. Pieces of metal were throughout the interior of the engine.

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

The loss of engine power due to failure of the number three connecting rod cap. Also causal was the failure of the pilot of a previous flight to report an engine overspeed event precluding the performance of the appropriate maintenance inspection.

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