NTSB Identification: ERA12LA411
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 24, 2012 in Portland, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: UNIVERSAL STINSON 108, registration: N39443
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
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 airplane was flying over the ocean, along the coast at altitudes between 500 to 1,000 feet mean sea level, when the pilot reported a total loss of engine power and indicated that he was not going to be able to glide to the shore. The airplane subsequently impacted water about 100 yards from the shore and sank to a depth of about 70 feet. Postaccident examination of the airplane’s engine revealed that the No. 3 piston skirt fractured, and the resultant debris entered the engine and camshaft gear, affecting the magneto timing. Metallurgical examination of the piston skirt revealed fatigue originating near a machined through-hole. Although the No. 3 piston was overhauled about 5 years before the accident, it was an original piston on the accident engine, which was more than 65 years old.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A fatigue failure of the No. 3 piston skirt, which resulted in a total loss of engine power and the subsequent ditching in the ocean. Full narrative available
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