NTSB Identification: ERA12LA394
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 13, 2012 in Ocilla, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N9238J
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 was flying the airplane under the conditions specified in a Special Flight Permit to reposition it for a potential sale. The airplane and engine were inspected by a certificated mechanic in accordance with the permit requirements before the flight. During cruise flight, the engine began to “sputter.” The pilot turned to find a landing field, then heard a loud noise, and the engine lost all power. The pilot performed a forced landing in a cotton field; however, the landing gear collapsed in the soft soil and the airframe sustained substantial damage.

Subsequent examination of the engine revealed puncture holes in the upper and lower sections of the engine case. The No. 2 cylinder connecting rod was separated from the crankshaft. The recovered parts of the crankshaft showed indications of heat distress and a lack of lubrication. The Nos. 3 and 4 cylinder connecting rods and rod bearings were still connected to the crankshaft; however their failure appeared imminent because of a severe lack of lubrication. All other crankshaft bearings appeared normal. The No. 1 cylinder connecting rod and bearing were normal in appearance with the exception of an overload fracture near the piston end. It is apparent that the No. 2 cylinder connecting rod end failed first due to a lack of lubrication, and the rotating and moving parts fractured the No. 1 cylinder connecting rod end, resulting in complete engine stoppage.

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

A failure of the No. 2 cylinder connecting rod due to a lack of lubrication, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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