On March 4, 1997, at 1240 central standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N2654T, registered to and operated by Dent Works East, Inc., under Title 14 CFR Part 91, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Thibodaux, Louisiana. The private pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the personal cross country flight. The flight departed the Thibodaux Municipal Airport about 5 minutes prior to the accident with an intended destination of Prairieville, Louisiana.

According to the pilot, this was the first flight following the installation of a factory remanufactured engine. Approximately 5 minutes after takeoff, he noticed that the oil pressure was dropping and turned back towards the airport. Before he could reach the airport, the engine began to run rough and then "stopped completely." During the ensuing wheels-up forced landing on a road, the airplane's left wing struck a barrel. The airplane then slid off the left side of the road and came to rest in a ditch.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed that there was a film of oil on the lower 1/3 of the firewall and on the lower lines and fittings aft of the sump drain. When the engine oil quantity was checked, no oil was visible on the dip stick. A quick drain valve was installed in the oil sump; "one of the ears of the drain valve was bent upwards and the valve appeared to be partially open." The nose landing gear scissors (torque links) were located directly below the bent ear of the drain. The FAA inspector verified "that the nose gear scissors would contact and off seat" the oil drain valve.

Airworthiness directive (AD) 81-11-20 R1, which was effective on October 2, 1981, applied to this airplane and required that if an oil quick drain valve was installed, it must be a Piper Part No. 492-172V. The oil quick drain valve installed was found to be a Curtis model CCA-1700.

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