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On June 25, 1997, at 1520 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-22-108, N4882Z, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain in Lenox Township, Michigan. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot was seriously injured. The flight departed the New Haven, Macomb Airport (57D), near Macomb, Michigan at an undetermined time.
A co-owner of the aircraft attempted to fly N4882Z the day before the accident. While taxing to the fuel pump he noted a low oil pressure reading and elected not to fly or fuel the aircraft. He reported the problem to the accident pilot of the aircraft. The accident pilot and a mechanic discovered that there was a dirty oil pressure relief valve. After cleaning the parts, a successful maintenance run-up was performed. The accident pilot then decided to fly in order to locate a radio-controlled aircraft lost in a near-by field. Witnesses to the accident reported that the aircraft was flying low over the area, when the engine quit. Witnesses reported, "I saw the plane heading north over my hayfield and it lost power.... ...it was loosing altitude it banked left heading west and it hit the tree."
The airplane came to rest four-tenths of a statute mile west of the intersection of Omo road and 28 Mile Road.
The pilot, born October 28, 1931, was the holder of a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land privileges. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicate that the pilot's last aviation medical examination was performed on June 12, 1997. The pilot possessed a third-class medical with the limitation that, "Holder shall wear lenses that correct for distant vision and possess glasses that correct for near vision while exercising the privileges of his/her Airman Certificate."
According to the pilot's record of flight time, he had accumulated 358 hours prior to the accident flight, of which 291 hours were in the accident airplane. According to the logbook, the pilot successfully completed a flight review on June 18, 1997.
The aircraft was a Piper PA-22-108, Tri-Pacer, serial number 22-8463. The Tri-Pacer is a tube and fabric, high-winged, dual strut monoplane with fixed landing gear. The airplane can accommodate the pilot and a single passenger in a side-by-side orientation. The airplane was manufactured by the Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1961, and was certified with a standard airworthiness certificate. The total time on the airframe, at the last annual inspection, dated June 3, 1997, was 2,164.4 hours. According to the logbook, the accident pilot flew the aircraft a total of 1.9 hours between the annual inspection and the accident flight.
The engine was a Textron Lycoming O-235-CIB, serial number L-7275-15, and at the last annual inspection had accumulated 992.1 hours.
A weather observation station, located at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DET), 39 nautical miles on a 222-degrees magnetic heading from the accident site, reported the weather 35 minutes before the accident as:
Observation Time: 1445 cdt Wind: 300 degrees at 10 knots Visibility 7 statute miles Sky Condition: Broken 7,000 feet, broken 20,000 feet Temperature: 33 degrees centigrade Dew Point: 20 degrees centigrade Pressure: 29.84 inches of Mercury
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest approximately four-tenths of a statute mile west of the intersection of Omo Road and 28 Mile Road.
The airplane sustained substantial damaged during the impact with terrain. The wreckage was found nose down, with the engine partially buried in the terrain. All airframe components were accounted for at the scene of the accident. Aileron, elevator, and rudder continuity was established from the control surfaces to their respective control input locations.
During a post accident examination of the engine, engine continuity and thumb compression were established. Examination of the engine controls revealed that the primer was in an unlocked position. Four gallons of fuel were found in the right tank, with no fuel found in the left tank. The fuel selector was set to the right tank.
No anomalies, relative to the airplane or its systems, were found that could be associated with a preexisting condition.
A placard in the aircraft cockpit stated, "Right tank level flight only."
The wreckage was released on June 25, 2000, to a representative of the New Haven, Macomb Airport Board.
Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards Office, Detroit, Michigan, and Textron Lycoming.