On June 1, 1996, at about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R, N8186G, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Williamstown, New Jersey. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. The personal flight originated from Kinston, North Carolina (ISO), at 1400 with Trenton, New Jersey as the intended destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that while in cruise flight at 2500 feet "...just past the [Cedar Lake] VOR ...there was a loud 'pop' from the engine compartment and an immediate loss of power." The pilot said he trimmed the airplane for best glide speed, located the nearest airport with his Loran, and turned the airplane to the heading provided by the Loran. The front seat passenger announced over the Trenton tower frequency the engine power loss, aircraft location, and aircraft status throughout the forced landing sequence.

The pilot explained that he chose a "...large pair of adjoining fields..." for landing when he could not visually confirm the airport cited by the Loran, and after he determined that all other airport options were outside of the airplane's gliding distance. He said, "We touched down near the end of the first field, which was separated from the second field by a barbed wire fence. Unfortunately, one of the posts was, as I learned later, a large railroad tie. The right wing struck the post at the location of the inner fuel tank, causing separation of the tank and other significant damage to the right wing. The impact turned the plane about 90 degrees, the landing gear collapsed, and the plane skidded on its belly to a stop in the middle of the second field."

Examination of the aircraft revealed the magneto had disconnected from the accessory gear box. The inspection disclosed the magneto hold down stud was intact and the associated hardware consisting of the nut, washer, lock washer, and hold-down clip were installed; however, the same pieces of hardware for the lower hold down stud were missing. Also noted was a significant section of magneto housing hold-down flange was fractured.

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