On October 1, 2000, at 1511 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-22-160, N9697D, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field in Lewisberg, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot was returning to his private airstrip, Fox Hollow Airport (3PA6), Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, after attending a fly-in at Grimes Airport (8N1), Bethel, Pennsylvania.

In a written statement, the pilot said:

"Departed 8N1 at 2:38 PM climbed to 3,000 MSL, headed for 3PA6, approx. 25 minute flight over Sunbury, PA. Started slow descent, upon entering downwind for 3PA6, engine started to misfire, pulled carb heat and throttled engine to 1,500 RPM. Misfire continued, raised RPM, no change in engine performance. Turned base, still misfiring. Took carb off, still no change. Pulled engine to idle for landing, engine quit, made slight right turn, flew under phone wires for emergency landing in field. Small tree took off right landing gear at front attach point, aircraft settled to ground and did ground loop to the right."

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors interviewed the pilot and performed and on-scene examination. According to the inspector's written report:

"[The pilot] stated he was returning from a fly-in to his private airstrip at his home in Lewisburg, PA. Descending from 3,500 [feet] the engine began to run rough. He applied carburetor heat, but it made no difference so he turned it off. When he retarded the throttle to idle the engine quit. He chose to make a turn onto a farmer's field next to his house for a dead stick landing. He was aware of telephone wires at the edge of the field and realized he could not get over them and elected to fly under the wires. The right gear struck a heavy shrub tree and tore the gear loose. The aircraft skidded to a stop facing 180 degrees from his approach path.

"When FAA inspectors arrived at the site, the aircraft was sitting on the left gear, the right wing tip, and the tail wheel. The propeller was damaged from the ground strike, the right gear was torn loose from the forward mount fitting, the tail tubular structure was twisted, and several holes in the fabric by the gear and tail section. We checked both fuel tanks for quantity and contamination. Both tanks were near full. Sump checks from the tanks and fuel bowl had no signs of contamination. The fuel was 100 LL avgas. I then removed the top spark plugs and noted three were black and one white, the oil dipstick showed the correct amount of clean oil with no contaminates.'

"We then jacked the right side of the aircraft and inspected the exhaust muffler, rotated the prop and had good compression on all four cylinders, then started the engine. The engine started immediately, ran normal, and the magneto check was normal, as was the idle for the fuel mixture check. The engine had no external leakage of either fuel or oil. The aircraft had an annual inspection performed on 5/15/2000 at 2,288 hours. The tach now indicates 2,316 total hours and the engine has 156 TSOH."

The pilot reported a total of 538 hours, of which 58 hours were in make and model.

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