On November 21, 2001, at 1830 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182, N24KA, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Brookville, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed Trenton-Robbinsville Airport (N87), Robbinsville, New Jersey, destined for Holmes County Airport (10G), Millersburg, Ohio. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he arrived at the airport about 1530, and had the airplane serviced, filling both fuel tanks to capacity. The pilot then completed a preflight, which included draining the fuel sump and checking the engine oil. The fuel sample was absent of debris, and the engine oil was at the upper limit.

The pilot boarded the airplane, and the engine started on the first attempt. He taxied the airplane short of runway 29, and performed the engine runup checks. He checked both magnetos, and the carburetor heat, noting no anomalies. He then taxied the airplane on to the runway, and advanced the throttle. The engine responded, and the pilot executed a normal takeoff. After passing 500 feet agl, the pilot reduced engine rpm to 2,300 and manifold pressure to 23 inches of mercury. To avoid Class "B" airspace, he initially flew to the north towards Princeton, New Jersey.

When the airplane reached the pilot's planned cruising altitude of 6,500 feet msl it was over Princeton, and clear of Class "B" airspace. The pilot turned the airplane to the west towards East Texas, Pennsylvania, and configured the airplane for cruise flight. He reduced engine rpm to 2,200, set manifold pressure to 23 inches of mercury, and leaned the mixture to approximately 11.5 gph. After passing East Texas, the pilot initiated a descent to 4,500 feet msl. Once level, he reset the mixture, and the airplane continued on towards the pilot's planned destination.

About 2 hours and 15 minutes into the flight, and about 1 hour and 45 minutes past East Texas, the engine started to run rough and lose power. Initially, engine rpm dropped about 75 rpm. As engine power continued to decrease, the pilot made a radio announcement on 121.5 MHz. Another pilot acknowledge the call, and then started helping the pilot trouble shoot the situation. The pilot checked both magnetos, turned the carburetor heat "ON," and checked the fuel selector, which was in the "Both" position. The pilot insured that the primer was in, and set the mixture to full rich, the throttle to full open, and the boost pump to "ON." Once engine power had decayed to approximately 1,900 rpm, the pilot initiated a descent to maintain airspeed. During the descent, the pilot maintained best glide airspeed, and made a 180-degree turn to proceed towards an airport he had just passed. About 1,500 feet agl the engine completely lost power. The pilot attempted several restarts without success.

Unable to make the airport, the pilot started looking through the darkness to identify a suitable forced landing area. He saw an area that he perceived to be an open field. The pilot maneuvered the airplane for landing, but was unable to see a line of trees between the airplane and his planned touchdown point. The airplane impacted one of the trees. The tree was approximately 45 feet high, and the airplane came to rest about 15 feet from the top. The pilot secured the systems, climbed down the tree, and then walked to a house, which was about a mile away, to report the accident.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, he arrived at the accident site about 2 days after the occurrence. He added that the airplane had come to rest in a tree approximately 30 feet off the ground. The left wing and tail section remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing contained approximately 25 gallons of fuel. The right wing had separated from the fuselage, and had come to rest on the ground about 30 to 40 feet from the main wreckage. The right fuel tank contained a negligible amount of residual fuel, and was compromised. The engine had separated from the fuselage, and had come to rest on the ground also about 30 feet from the main wreckage.

Examination of the engine revealed a "glass" like material in all of the cylinders, with the right bank of cylinders having more than the left bank. A differential compression check was performed on each cylinder, but before the test, all the valves had to be "staked." After staking the valves, compression for the No. 1 cylinder was 55/80 psi, No. 2 was 70/80 psi, No. 3 was 70/80 psi, No. 4 was 70/80 psi, No. 5 was unobtainable because of bottom sparkplug thread damage, and No. 6 was 55/80 psi.

An overhaul was completed on the engine on May 30, 2001, and the engine was reinstalled on July 8, 2001. After 66 hours of operation, the sparkplugs had to be removed, cleaned, and regapped.

The No. 1 piston was sent to the Safety Board's materials libratory for exanimation. According to the metallurgist who conducted the examination approximately 75 percent of the piston crown was covered with a thick layer of flaky residue, with the remaining portions being covered by a thin layer. Flake samples from the piston were examined on a scanning electron microscope using energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The cylinder and piston scrapings both showed major peaks of bromine and lead with minor peaks of chlorine, phosphorus, oxygen, silicon, and carbon. No determination could be made on the source of the residue.

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