NTSB Identification: FTW03FA120.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, March 31, 2003 in Broken Arrow, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N70NZ
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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.

The pilot stalled the airplane, which impacted terrain in a nose down pitch attitude after the engine experienced a total loss of power. Numerous witnesses observed smoke trailing from the airplane; one of which observed the smoke up to nine minutes prior to the accident. The pilot reported a loss of oil pressure and subsequent loss of engine power. Some witnesses observed the airplane stall, roll to the right, and descend vertically. The airplane exploded upon impact with the terrain. Post-accident examination of the engine revealed the number six connecting rod end cap failed due to oil starvation. The oil starvation resulted from a piston blow-by condition that formed in the number six cylinder. The blow-by condition resulted in crankcase pressurization and the loss of the oil through the breather tube. The blow-by condition also resulted in the burning of oil in the number six cylinder, which resulted in the smoke observed by the witnesses. The cause of the blow-by situation was not determined.

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

Failure of the engine due to the blow-by condition in the number six cylinder for undetermined reasons, which resulted in oil starvation and eventual failure of the associated connecting rod end cap. Also causal was the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during the forced landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and subsequent collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

Index for Mar2003 | Index of months