NTSB Identification: ERA09LA261
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 23, 2009 in Hilliard, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/22/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N2938R
Injuries: 4 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.

Approximately 2 hours into the cross-country flight the pilot heard a loud noise from the engine compartment and the engine subsequently failed. The pilot performed a forced landing in a field and the empennage struck a tree, resulting in substantial airframe damage. Examination of the engine revealed that the No. 3 cylinder partially separated in flight, resulting in the engine failure. An engine cylinder attachment stud and nut were found at the run-up pad at the departure airport. Examination of the stud revealed evidence of fatigue cracking, which was indicative of an under torque condition. Other cylinder attachment nuts on the engine showed evidence of under torquing. The pilot had recently purchased the airplane and the seller reported that an oil leak was noted during the "pre-buy" inspection. The mechanic who inspected the airplane at the pre-buy reported that two cylinders were leaking oil. The seller installed the cylinders as part of a major overhaul that occurred approximately 131 hours prior to the accident. The pilot did not have maintenance performed to address the cylinder oil leaks prior to the accident.

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

A total loss of engine power due to the fatigue failure of the No. 3 cylinder attachment stud as a result of insufficient torque during installation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s operation of the airplane with a known mechanical deficiency.

Full narrative available

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