On March 20, 1994, at 1355 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-180, N1152X, piloted by James F. Arnold, III, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing in Batavia, Ohio. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The flight departed Dayton Ohio, destined for Lexington, Kentucky. In his report, the pilot stated:

[I]...climbed to 4500 [feet]...[the] airplane and engine were operating normally....Suddenly ...the engine started vibrating terribly...[it] started losing RPM and oil pressure. All oil pressure was soon lost....I began looking for a suitable off airport place to land....The short field was completely circled by trees and I did not have enough distance to stop before [impacting] ...trees and brush.

Mr. Eric M. Aponte, Aviation Safety Inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration, examined the engine. In his report, Mr. Aponte stated:

This investigation revealed that the malfunction occurred when the engine cylinder head no. 2 split open (head and barrel separation) at the cylinder barrel (between no. 4 and no. 5 cooling fins), probably due to stress corrosion and or metal fatigue of the cylinder barrel wall.

Aircraft maintenance records were reviewed with no indication of previous cylinder repairs other than a complete engine overhaul....Total...time since engine overhaul [was] 261.9 hours.


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