NTSB Identification: CEN12LA623
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 09, 2012 in Gilmer, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28RT-201, registration: N2878V
Injuries: 1 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 student pilot reported that while he was performing flight maneuvers in preparation for a checkride, the engine backfired and lost partial power. He attempted unsuccessfully to regain engine power. Because he could not maintain altitude and the local terrain was tree-covered, the student pilot chose to ditch the airplane in a nearby lake. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed the No. 3 cylinder lost compression due to the seizure of the No. 3 cylinder piston rings. The No. 3 cylinder fuel nozzle was found partially clogged, which likely resulted in a lean fuel mixture and excessive heat in the cylinder and the subsequent piston ring failure. The reason for the clogged fuel nozzle could not be determined.

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

The partial loss of engine power due to the loss of cylinder compression. The loss of cylinder compression was the result of the No. 3 piston ring failure due to excessive heat because of the lean fuel mixture from a partially clogged fuel nozzle.

Full narrative available

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