NTSB Identification: LAX08CA033.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 06, 2007 in Tucson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2008
Aircraft: Senft/Anderson/salmon C-5, registration: N700H
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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.

While in cruise flight, the pilot heard several "pops" with no drops in oil pressure or temperature noted on the gauges. The engine then seized and the propeller stopped turning. When the pilot realized that she was not going to make her destination airport, she began to look for a place to land. Her options were limited by cars and power lines. She eventually was able to locate a road that was flat with no cars or power lines; however, there was natural desert vegetation. After touchdown the left wing struck a tree and the airplane ground looped. The pilot stated that the airplane was a homebuilt replica with a 1929 Wright Whirlwind R540A engine. The engine was inspected and a large hole on the right side of the engine case was found. Investigators also noted that the damage to the other cylinders and connecting rods appear to have been caused when the number 3 articulating rod separated and began running around inside the engine. The engine seized when the number 3 articulating rod bent the number 4 articulating rod and then moved into the bottom of the number 5 cylinder, forcing itself between the bottom of the piston and the master rod. The underlying cause of the number 3 articulating rod's separation was not able to be determined.

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

a total loss of engine power due to the failure of the number 3 articulating rod.

Full narrative available

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