On October 26, 2001, approximately 2045 central daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30A single-engine airplane, N614CJ, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Clarendon, Texas. The private pilot and the sole passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from the Clarendon Municipal Airport, Clarendon, Texas, at 2040, with a destination of Plainview, Texas.

According to the pilot, the airplane departed the Clarendon Municipal Airport, and climbing through 500 feet in dark, night conditions, he heard a "popping" sound. The engine "hesitated and then returned to normal for only a brief moment before it quit completely." When the engine lost power, the fuel selector was in the right tank position. He then initiated emergency procedures by turning the boost pump on and attempting to restart the engine, which proved unsuccessful. The pilot turned the airplane back toward the departure airport. Subsequently, he determined that he would not be able to "make the airport," and landed the airplane in an area of rough terrain approximately 3 miles south of the departure airport. The aircraft came to rest upright, on a slope in a ravine.

An FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, reported that the right wing sustained structural damage to its front spar, ribs, and leading edge. The left horizontal stabilizer strut was damaged and the landing gear was found separated from the aircraft. All three propeller blades exhibited chord-wise scratching. Two of the propeller blades were bent aft, one of which was bent aft 80-degrees at its root. The outboard portion of one propeller blade was curled aft. The left fuel tank contained no visible fuel and the left wing fuel system was not compromised. The right fuel tank was "completely full" of fuel and the fuselage (header) tank contained approximately 7 gallons of fuel. The fuel selector was selected to the right tank position.

The IO-520-K engine was examined and test run by the FAA inspector and a representative of Teledyne Continental Motors. The engine was observed to be intact and crankshaft continuity was confirmed between the propeller and the accessory drive gears. A compression check was performed and the following values were recorded: 70/80, 59/80, 60/80, 24/80, 65/80, and 64/80. The engine was test run using fuel from the fuselage tank. The engine ran for 15 minutes, during which a magneto check was performed and no anomalies were noted. The engine was then run for an additional five minutes using fuel from an outside source. The engine was run at idle, cruise and takeoff power settings, and no anomalies were noted.

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