MIA97LA163
MIA97LA163

On May 14, 1997, about 1000 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-24-180, N7931P, registered to Double Eagle Aircraft Sales Inc., operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed while making a forced landing near Yakkama City, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The commercial-rated pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated from Witham Field Airport, Stuart, Florida, about 0830.

The pilot stated that he was about 25 miles east of Sarasota, Florida, when the engine lost complete power. He stated that he "heard maybe 2 seconds of ticking then complete engine failure." He further stated that he had just checked the oil temperature and pressure and they were "normal." The pilot said he spent about 10 to 15 seconds trying to stop the engine because he thought the engine would "tear itself off the aircraft." The pilot chose to make a forced landing in a field. One wing separated from the aircraft when it collided with a tree on the approach, and the airplane traveled about 150 feet before it came to a stop.

On May 22, 1997, an engine teardown was performed at Aviation Consultants facilities, Wimauma, Florida, under the supervision of the FAA. The engine teardown revealed that all 4 connecting rod caps "had come apart" from their rods. Some of the rod bolt nuts were found lying on the bottom of the oil pan. Some of the nuts were "still installed to the sheared rod bolt."

The FAA inspector stated, "...the mechanic...had installed two (2) modified rod caps without the connecting rod assemblies, [and without] incept[ing] and service[ing] prior to installation on the engine."

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