FTW00LA127
FTW00LA127

On April 19, 2000, at 1633 central daylight time, a Mooney M20F single-engine airplane, N7038V, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Tomball, Texas. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot. The private pilot sustained a minor injury and his passenger was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Conroe, Texas, at 1618, with a destination of San Marcos, Texas.

According to the pilot, the airplane was climbing through 4,000 feet msl when the engine rpm increased, and the engine oil pressure dropped to zero. He reported the situation to Houston Departure Control and asked for a vector to the nearest airport. The controller gave the pilot a heading to fly to the David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport. After the pilot rolled out onto the heading, "the engine began to shake violently for about 15 seconds and then the engine seized." As the aircraft was descending, at about 600 feet agl, the pilot determined he would not make the airfield and elected to land in a field short of runway 17R. The airplane passed over a small lake and a large tree, touched down in the field approximately wings level with the landing gear retracted, and "slid through the field for roughly 125 feet" before coming to a stop. The pilot stated he did not lower the landing gear due to the need for altitude and airspeed to reach the field.

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspector revealed that the tail was twisted to the left and displaced upward, and oil was found along the aircraft's left side. Examination of the engine revealed the #4 connecting rod sticking out of the crankcase. Further examination revealed that an oil cooler line had ruptured.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the last inspection performed on the aircraft was an annual inspection. It was completed on March 19, 2000, eight flight hours prior to the accident.

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