NTSB Identification: NYC07LA001.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 03, 2006 in Hammonton, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N5097P
Injuries: 1 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 airplane was on a base leg to the airport when the engine lost power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a swampy area short of the runway. A subsequent examination of the engine revealed that within the accessory section, the idler gear assembly, which normally transferred power from the crankshaft to the left magneto and the camshaft, had been displaced. The mounting shaft had also been displaced, and the shaft hole was elongated. The upper portions of both shaft mounting plate retaining screws were missing. The lower screw appeared to be sheared, while the remnant of the upper screw exhibited mechanical damage. The crankcase surface area around the upper screw hole exhibited fretting, and the idler gear had missing and damaged gear teeth. Remnants of the shaft mounting plate retaining screws and screw lockplate were found in the bottom of the crankcase. The engine operating time was below the recommended time between overhaul (TBO). However, the manufacturer also recommended an overhaul if the TBO was not reached within the previous 12 years, and the accident engine had not been overhauled in over 30 years. The failure sequence could not be determined, and although an excessive amount of time had passed since the previous overhaul, the lack of an overhaul could not be correlated to the displacement of the idler gear assembly.

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

Displacement of the idler gear assembly, which resulted in a loss of camshaft timing, and a subsequent engine failure. Contributing to the accident was the swampy terrain condition.

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