NTSB Identification: ERA10FA074
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 22, 2009 in Wappinger, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N345AT
Injuries: 2 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.

About 10 minutes after takeoff, the pilot advised air traffic control that he was experiencing an oil problem and subsequently maneuvered the airplane for an emergency landing at an airport about 7 nautical miles away. The engine ceased producing power shortly thereafter and the airplane subsequently impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing. Metallurgical examination of the engine components attributed the loss of engine power to the failure of the No. 3 connecting rod bearing. Measurement of journal diameters were consistent with the correct bearings having been installed and a lack of substantial debris in the No. 4 bearing suggested that oil contamination was not contributory. The deformation and color of the recovered No. 3 connecting rod bearing pieces were consistent with the backing of the bearing extruding out of the connecting rod journal interface while under lubrication, and was consistent with failure due to delamination of the bearing. Damage to the bearing from continued operation after it failed prevented a conclusive determination as to whether the bearing had been damaged by a brief period of reduced oil pressure or wear over time. The engine was overhauled about 18 years and 1,700 flight hours prior to the accident. Maintenance records for that period showed inconsistent documentation of manufacturer-recommended oil filter element inspections following engine oil changes, with no documented oil suction screen or filter inspections in the 4 years preceding 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 a delamination of the No. 3 connecting rod bearing. Contributing to the accident was the inadequate maintenance inspection of the engine oil system.

Full narrative available

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