NTSB Identification: CHI06CA098.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, March 07, 2006 in Holly, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N7810N
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane contacted a guard rail and a ditch during a forced landing on an interstate highway following a total loss of engine power. The pilot reported he initially flew past his intended destination airport and was turning back to the airport when loss of power occurred. He stated they were at 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) when the engine started to sputter intermittently. He reported that he immediately checked the engine gauges which looked normal, and he switched fuel tanks. The pilot reported that upon reaching an altitude of about 2,000 msl, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot reported he applied carburetor heat and since he had the mixture leaned, he moved the mixture control to full rich. The pilot stated that he attempted to restart the engine to no avail. The pilot reported his choices of a place to land included a small field, a gravel pit, or the highway. He chose the highway. He reported that he intentionally kept his speed between 75 and 80 miles per hour during the landing to match the speed of the traffic on the highway. The pilot reported that during the landing the airplane bounced and contacted a guard rail. The airplane then spun around and contacted a ditch prior to coming to rest. Following the accident the airplane was secured on a flat bed trailer and an engine test run was conducted using an alternate fuel supply. The engine started and ran smooth up to 1,900 rpm. No mechanical failure/malfunction was found which would have resulted in the loss of engine power.

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

A loss of engine power due to undetermined reasons. Factors associated with the accident were the guard rail and the ditch which the airplane contacted during the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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