On September 10, 2000, at 1505 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 188, N9977G, collided with a utility line and the ground during an attempted forced landing following a loss of engine power near Tampa, Florida. American Outdoor Advertising operated the Banner Tow Flight under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage, and the commercial pilot was not injured. The flight departed the Banner Tow staging area at the Tampa North Aero Park in Tampa, Florida, at 1403.

According to the pilot, he had completed the advertising mission for this banner, and was enroute to the staging area to drop the banner. While enroute, the engine, without warning, appeared to accelerate into an over-speed condition. Seconds later, the engine lost power and quit. The pilot selected an area for a forced landing and established an approach. While on final approach to land, the airplane collided with a utility line as the pilot maneuvered the airplane to avoid a collision with a pile of lumber.

The on-site examination of the airplane disclosed that there was a hole in the engine crankcase. The examination also revealed that the number six connecting rod cap was disconnected and the connecting rod had punched through the crankcase. Further examination of the engine disclosed that the there was no lubrication oil in the engine case, and that the engine had seized. According to the operator, the engine had recently undergone major repairs.

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