On September 5, 1998, about 1119 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177RG, N2679V, registered to Mile High Aviators, LLC., operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed in a field during a forced landing following an engine failure, near Covington Municipal Airport, Covington, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage and the private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated from Atlanta about 1101 the same day.

According to the pilot, about 10 minutes after takeoff, just after activating his flight plan to St. Simons Island, Georgia, with Atlanta Approach Control, he experienced a loss of indicated engine oil pressure. The pilot was being vectored to the Covington airport when the engine started to run rough and seized about 2 miles short of the airport. The pilot felt his only option was to execute an emergency landing to a grass field. The airplane collided with a fence on landing rollout.

Postcrash examination of the engine by an FAA inspector revealed a large hole in the crankcase next to the No. 1 cylinder, and chunks of metal on top of the heater muff hose. Subsequent disassembly examination of the engine revealed that the No. 3 connecting rod bearing had become unsecured and spun about its installed location, plugging its lubrication oil source, and causing failure of the No. 3 connecting rod. Large chunks of metal within the crankcase and oil system caused subsequent blockage and additional internal failure. (See the Record of Telephone Conversation).

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