On July 14, 1998, about 1530 Eastern Daylight Time, a Taylorcraft BL-65, N27616, was substantially damaged on approach to Bedford County Airport (HMZ), Bedford, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was not injured, and the passenger sustained a minor injury. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, the pilot added engine oil before the flight. After takeoff, the pilot noticed oil on the airplane's windshield. He returned to the airport, but reduced power early, landed about 500 feet short of the runway, and struck a fence post. According to a witness, postflight examination revealed that the oil filler cap was not in place, but located between two cylinders. The Inspector stated that there were 4 1/2 quarts of oil remaining in the engine, and that there was no evidence of any mechanical malfunction.

The pilot was requested, on numerous occasions, by both letter and telephone, to complete a Pilot/Operator Report, as required by federal law. The pilot did not provide the completed report, nor did he respond to a subpoena to appear at the Safety Board regional headquarters with the required information.

The pilot did not have a current medical certificate, nor was there any record of a current biennial flight review. On his last medical certificate application, in 1993, the pilot reported a total flight time of 920 hours. However, there was no evidence of any flight time since then. There was also no evidence of pilot competency in either normal or emergency procedures, in any aircraft.

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