On January 13, 2002, at 1437 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-24-250, N328EJ, lost engine power and collided with an airport perimeter fence when it landed short of the runway at Oceano County Airport, Oceano, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal local flight originated at Oceano about 1415. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated that the pilot reported that he was attempting to land on runway 29. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, he lowered the landing gear. He heard a loud bang from the firewall area, and the instrument panel caved in. The engine lost power and he maneuvered the airplane towards the airport. The airplane touched down about 500 to 1,000 feet short of the runway and collided with an airport perimeter fence.

The FAA inspector conducted a post accident inspection of the airplane. The examination revealed that the mixture control cable separated at the mixture control arm. The engine control bracket, part number 21189-00, was missing. The function of the bracket is to secure control cables away from the nose landing gear. Without the bracket, the mixture control cable hangs freely down below the engine, where the nose gear is located when in the retracted position. He found a kink in the mixture cable. He thought that this was an indication that it snagged on the nose landing gear hardware when the pilot extended the nose gear to the down position.

The evidence suggested that the mixture control cable became caught on the Zerk fitting located on the pivot point of the nose landing gear. This resulted in the mixture control cable separating from the mixture control arm on the carburetor. The FAA inspector's review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane was about 2 months overdue for an annual inspection. The pilot's medical expired about 14 months prior to the accident.

The owner/operator failed to file or return a Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2).

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