NTSB Identification: WPR11LA187
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 05, 2011 in El Centro, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/20/2012
Aircraft: ZENITH 701, registration: N128CF
Injuries: 2 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 pilot reported that, during the initial climb after takeoff, the airplane sustained a partial loss of engine power and that he initiated a forced landing to a wet, muddy, wheat field. During the landing roll, the nosewheel of the airplane dug into the soft terrain and the airplane nosed over. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 2 cylinder and piston exhibited signatures consistent with oil starvation. During disassembly of the engine oil pump system, the No. 1 shaft/bearing assembly for the oil pump system was intact and operational. The No. 2 drive coupling was found damaged, out of alignment, and not functioning. This condition would result in the oil supply system supplying oil at a sporadic rate, below minimal volume and pressure, which would result in oil starvation primarily to the No. 2 cylinder assembly.

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

A partial loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff due to oil starvation because of the failure of the No. 2 oil pump drive coupling.

Full narrative available

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