NTSB Identification: NYC08FA053
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 05, 2007 in Augusta, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N43274
Injuries: 1 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.

While enroute to the destination airport, the pilot reported to air traffic control that he had a "rough running engine,"and asked where the nearest airport was. He was given vectors for an airport and subsequently reported that the airplane's engine lost power and that he would attempt to land on a road. The airplane touched down in a parking lot and continued to travel for about 50 feet, until it impacted a building and caught fire. A witness reported that the engine sounded as if "all the cylinders weren't firing." Examination of the engine revealed that the number 2 cylinder was displaced from the crankcase and the associated connecting rod was separated from the crankshaft. Examination of the studs used to attach the cylinder to the crankcase revealed that they were fractured due to fatigue. Additionally, continued operation of the engine after the separation of the cylinder fractured the associated connecting rod to produce mechanical damage inside of the crankcase. According to maintenance records, 22 months prior to the accident the engine case was repaired when a crack was noted. The engine was reinstalled and the airplane returned to service two months later, at 977 hours since major overhaul. The most recent 100-hour inspection was performed one month prior to the accident with no anomalies noted. At that time, the engine had accumulated 1409 hours since major overhaul. The investigator could not determine if a specific maintenance action initiated and allowed the fatigue crack.

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

A loss of engine power due to the fatigue fracture of the number 2 cylinder attach studs, and the subsequent separation of the number 2 cylinder.

Full narrative available

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