On July 13, 2000, at 1515 mountain daylight time, the pilot of a Mooney M20J, N201DK, made a forced landing near Espanola, New Mexico, when the engine lost all power. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the commercial pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for this cross-country flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Los Alamos, New Mexico, at 1500 with a filed destination of Jefferson County Airport, Broomfield, Colorado.

According to the pilot, during climb following takeoff, he noticed the oil pressure was 0 PSI and the oil temperature was climbing. He said he initially reduced power to preserve engine life and began looking for a place to perform an emergency landing. His account states that the terrain in the area was rough, mountainous, and had heavy foliage. During this time, the pilot said the engine began to vibrate violently and he shut it down via the mixture control. He then spotted a field in which to land, lowered the landing gear and flaps, and did an emergency off airport landing. During landing roll, the nose landing gear collapsed due to stresses imposed by the uneven surface of the field. Substantial damage occurred to the engine firewall and surrounding airframe.

On August 13, 2000, an engine examination was performed at the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Services, Greeley, Colorado. The examination revealed that the number 3 cylinder rod bearing had failed due to lack of lubrication. This was followed by failure of the number 3 connecting rod, which penetrated the case. It was also found that the number 1 connecting rod bearing had failed due to heat stress brought on by reduced lubrication. The engine contained 7 quarts of oil at the time the examination was conducted and the internal oil distribution system showed no evidence of blockage.

According to part numbers recovered from the bearing, the correct parts were installed and the correct type oil was used. The oil pump was tested and operated normally. All filters and screens in the lubrication system contained metallic debris; however, none were blocked.

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