NTSB Identification: ANC05LA018.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 14, 2004 in Sleetmute, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N801FS
Injuries: 3 Minor.

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 commercial certificated pilot reported that while the airplane was in level cruise flight at 5,000 msl, he noted a rough running engine and a slight reduction in engine rpm, which was followed by a rapid loss of engine power, and subsequent loss of altitude. He was unable to restore adequate engine power to maintain level flight, and selected a snow-covered area as a forced landing site. During the landing roll, the airplane's nose landing gear collapsed, and the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained structural damage to the wings and fuselage. An FAA inspector reported that during his inspection of the accident airplane's engine, he discovered that a significant portion of the exhaust valve had broken free from the exhaust valve stem in the number 1 cylinder. He stated that the broken portion of the valve subsequently entered the number 1 cylinder combustion chamber and damaged the piston.

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

A loss of engine power during cruise flight due to a fractured exhaust valve, which resulted in a forced landing, and subsequent nose over of the airplane. A factor associated with the accident was the lack of suitable terrain for a successful emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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