CHI98LA081
CHI98LA081

On January 18, 1998, at 2000 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-28RT-201T, N8277W, piloted by an instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed during a collision with the ground following a total loss of engine power. 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 Naperville, Illinois, at 1900 cst.

According to the pilot's written statement, he was flying his airplane toward the airport. He reported that "...approximately 7-miles out from LL10 [the airport identifier] I switched tanks. Cont'd approach to LL10 and the engine began running rough and quit. I then set up for best glide, put [the] fuel pump on, switched tanks back to original [position]. Tried to restart. Engine would not start." The pilot reported he picked out a field in which to land and at an altitude of 2,000 feet above mean sea level the engine started and ran rough. He said, "The prop was windmilling and the engine started sputtering just before touch down."

The Will County Illinois, Sheriff's Department Deputy interviewed the pilot about 6-hours after the accident. The Deputy reported the pilot said "...his engine lost power, possibly [due] to frozen water in the fuel line." The Sheriff Department's report said the pilot stated he "...picked a snow-covered field to land in." The report said the pilot stated that "When his front landing gear wheel made contact with the ground, the wheel got caught in the dirt and snow. Aircraft then cartwheeled end-over-end and slid [to a stop]."

A Federal Aviation Administration Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) conducted the on-scene investigation. His report states, "There was no evidence of fuel in the [fuel] tanks, nor was there any fuel discoloration in the area of the fuel tanks or anywhere else at the crash site." Examination of the engine revealed no fuel in the fuel servo, fuel manifold or injector ports. The throttle was in the "Closed" position according to the arm's position on the throttle body. There were no mechanical anomalies with the engine, and its accessories, or the airframe that would have prevented flight.

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