NTSB Identification: CHI03LA043.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 22, 2002 in Carleton, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N8555W
Injuries: 2 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 nose gear collapsed during an off airport forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot reported that while en route to his destination, the engine power dropped to 1,300 rpm. He stated he applied carburetor heat, turned on the auxiliary fuel pump, and switched fuel tanks to no avail. The pilot reported that the passenger checked the engine instruments and all indications were normal. The pilot contacted the Willow Run Air Traffic Control Tower and informed them of the situation, stating that he was going to land at their airport. After turning toward the airport, the pilot determined he was not going be able to reach the airport, so he pilot selected a plowed field in which to land. The nose gear collapsed during the landing and the airplane came to rest on the engine cowling and main landing gear. Examination of the engine revealed the #2 cylinder exhaust valve was broken off and a piece of the #2 cylinder was missing. Portions of the exhaust valve and valve stem were recovered from the engine. Visual examination revealed the fractured surfaces were deformed and obscured by impact damage to such a degree that the failure mode could not be determined.

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

The #2 cylinder exhaust valve failed due to undetermined reasons. A factor associated with the accident was the soft terrain encountered during the forced landing.

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