On October 31, 1997, at 1715 central standard time, a Piper PA-32-260, N3359W, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing after takeoff due to a complete loss of engine power. The private pilot and one passenger reported no injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was departing Airlake Airport, Lakeville, Minnesota, on a local flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he conducted a very thorough preflight on the airplane prior to takeoff due to the engine maintenance that had just been completed. He reported that no abnormalities were found during preflight. The engine start and run-up were normal and no abnormalities were found.

The pilot reported that the manifold pressure, RPM's, and engine gauges were all normal during the takeoff roll and takeoff. He reported that after climbing to approximately 125 feet AGL, just beyond the threshold of the runway, the airplane experienced a sudden and complete power loss, "as if the engine was being starved for fuel." About two seconds later the engine surged, and then quit again. The pilot closed the throttle and landed straight ahead in a freshly plowed field. The airplane rolled across about 300 feet of rough field before the nose gear collapsed. The pilot secured the electrical system and placed the fuel selector in the off position and exited the airplane.

The engine was examined and tested by running the engine. The engine started and ran normally.

The airplane was examined. There was adequate fuel in the fuel tanks. The fuel selector operated properly. The fuel pickups were normal and the fuel boost pump provided sufficient fuel flow.

The mixture control cable and "Adel clamp" were examined. The Adel clamp was the "cushioned type" with a lining of rubber. The examination revealed that the rubber grommet in the "Adel clamp," which secured the mixture control cable outer housing, had deteriorated. It permitted the entire control cable and the outer cable housing to shift aft.

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