NTSB Identification: CEN13LA072
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 25, 2012 in DeRidder, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/2014
Aircraft: BEECH S35, registration: N322D
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 said that the airplane was in cruise flight at 5,500 feet mean sea level when he heard an "odd" sound coming from the engine. He diverted to the nearest airport but then saw oil on the windscreen and smoke in the cockpit. When he realized he would not reach the diversion airport, the pilot made a gear down landing in a field. Before touchdown, the pilot pushed the control column forward in an attempt to avoid a stall, and the airplane landed hard.

Examination of the engine revealed damage consistent with oil starvation. Examination of the engine assembly did not reveal any blocked or restricted oil ports/galleys or slipped/elongated bearings that would result in a loss of oil or oil pressure. Examination of the cap for the oil dipstick revealed it was severely corroded and the tangs used to secure it to the oil filler tube were missing. The cap for the oil gauge rod (dipstick) had separated from the dipstick and was found several feet away from the main wreckage; thus it is likely that the oil leaked out from this location.

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

A total loss of engine power due to oil starvation after the oil filler cap separated from the oil filler tube during flight due to corrosion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during low altitude operations, which precipitated the onset of a stall.

Full narrative available

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