NTSB Identification: DFW05LA033.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 09, 2004 in Fabens, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Mooney M20F, registration: N3208F
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 600-hour private pilot reported that he began "having engine difficulties." The pilot noticed, "the #2 cylinder head temperature gauge was indicating a lower than normal temperature, and shortly thereafter, there was a loss of engine oil pressure." The pilot then determined that there were no available airport landing sites, and few minutes later, the engine stopped. He prepared to execute an off-airfield emergency landing. He determined that the safest place to land was the westbound lane of an interstate highway below him. During the landing flare, the right wing of the airplane collided with the rear of a large semi-tractor truck that was traveling on the highway. The airplane then flipped over and came to rest inverted.
A certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic examined the engine under the supervision of the FAA inspector. The examination revealed that the connecting rod to the # 2 piston was broken. The piston was seized inside of the cylinder and could not be removed. No rod bolts or hardware were found. There was damage to the engine case between the #2 and #4 cylinders. The spark plugs were removed and inspected, and no anomalies were found. The oil filter and oil screen were removed, and metal flakes were observed. Oil was not observed on the dipstick or anywhere in the engine, nor did it appear on the exterior surface of the airplane.

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

The loss of engine power as a result of the failure of a connecting rod due to oil starvation/exhaustion. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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