On November 17, 2001, at 1145 eastern standard time, a Beech 76, N3846Z, operated by Greenwood Aviation as a rental aircraft, was substantially damaged during a single engine approach and landing on runway 01 (4,300 feet by 75 feet, asphalt) at the Greenwood Municipal Airport (HFY), Greenwood, Indiana. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot was uninjured. The flight originated from HFY, at 1130, en route to the Mount Comfort Airport (MQJ), Greenfield, Indiana.

The pilot reported an excessive loss of engine rpm while checking the left magneto during an engine run up prior to takeoff. He ran the engine for a while and rechecked the magneto, which he reported to be normal. Approximately 10 minutes after takeoff and at 2,000 feet, the left engine started to run rough. The pilot reported that the left engine lost power, and he returned to HFY without declaring an emergency. During landing, the left wing contacted the runway.

A witness reported, "As he aircraft approached the airport, it appeared to be having difficulty lining up with the runway as it was descending. The pilot seemed to [be] over correcting as he tried to line up with the runway. Finally, approximately [one] wing length above the runway, the left wing dipped as though it had stalled and impacted the ground first. The aircraft [then] skidded sideways and came to rest just off the east side of the runway."

A second witness reported, "I observed 3846Z on a close left downwind for runway 1 at approximately 300'-400' AGL. The aircraft turned left base and continued to descend. The aircraft overshot final to the east, overshot again to the west, corrected and overshot to the east, before banking left and impacting the runway. Power was brought to the aircraft on the last correction from west to east."

A third witness viewing the airplane through his rear view mirror of his vehicle reported, "The left wing hit the runway first. Then the props hit the ground, it then appeared to bounce and spin in the air [approximately] 180 [degrees]."

In a written statement, the pilot reported, "At preflight [left] [magneto]/[left] engine drop 200 rpm. - Leaned to burn - then checked drop 50-75 rpm. Take off good - everything in the green. At 1200 feet start to reduce power - Left engine sounded rough. Decided to cancel plan to go to MQT [and] return for landing. Made one circle around airport [and] came back to land on [runway 01]. At the last few second[s] the plane rolled to the left. I felt it is going to cartwheel - concentrated on attitude [and] putting it down on the runway - Landing was hard on [right] main gear - it collapsed [and] the plane skidded to the right off the runway.

MQJ is located 15.6 nm northeast of HFY.

The Indianapolis International Airport, Indianapolis, Indiana, automated surface observing system, located 11 nm northwest of HFY, recorded at 1130, 1/4 sm visibility in fog with an overcast ceiling of 100 feet agl. The Shelbyville Municipal Airport, Shelbyville, Indiana, automated surface observing system, located 13 nm east of HFY, recorded at 1153, 2 1/2 sm visibility in mist with clear sky conditions. The pilot reported that the sky/lowest cloud condition at MQJ was clear with a visibility of 3 miles.

A postaccident inspection of the airplane was conducted by inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). A compression check of both engines was reported as good with the exception of the number three cylinder on the left engine. Initially the compression on the number three cylinder was 22/80, with air exiting past the intake valve. The intake valve's tip was then hit several times, the compression was repeated, and a reading of 70/80 was noted. As the crankshaft was rotated completely through, engine and electrical continuity was confirmed. The compression ratios for the left engine were initally noted as: cylinder number 1, 72/80; cylinder number 2, 73/80; cylinder number 3, 22/80 and cylinder number 4, 70/80. The compression ratios for the right engine were noted as: cylinder number 1, 76/80; cylinder number 2, 75/80; cylinder number 3, 74/80 and cylinder number 4, 74/80.

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