NTSB Identification: SEA03FA026.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 14, 2003 in Gig Harbor, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 172K, registration: N1909V
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the climb after takeoff, the aircraft's engine started surging and making loud noises. This was followed by a steady decrease in the power the engine would produce, and an increase in the loud noises emanating from the engine compartment. Being unable to maintain his assigned attitude, the pilot descended in instrument meteorological conditions until he broke out of the clouds about 800 to 1000 feet above the ground. Knowing that he could not make it to the airport, the pilot attempted a power-out forced landing on a nearby road, but when he was about 20 feet above the road's surface a car pulled out onto the roadway. During the landing sequence, the aircraft impacted the rear of the car. It was ultimately determined that the loss of power was due to the fracture of the number seven crankshaft cheek as the result of the propagation of a fatigue crack initiation point. Materials laboratory examination of the crankshaft did not discover any clear reason for the creation of the initiation point.

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

The loss of engine power in the climb due to the fracture of the number seven engine crankshaft cheek due to the propagation of a fatigue crack initiation point. Factors include a vehicle pulling onto the road that the pilot selected for his forced emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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