CHI02LA106
CHI02LA106

On March 31, 2002, at 1655 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-235, N9060W, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Fulton, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and his three passengers did not report any injuries. The flight departed the Randolph County Airport, Winchester, Indiana, at 1600 and the intended destination was the Gary/Chicago Airport, Gary, Indiana.

According to the pilot's written statement, while in cruise flight the constant speed propeller "surged" twice. The pilot reported, "Checked engine gages and noticed [zero] oil pressure." The pilot stated he was using flight following and requested a vector to the nearest airport, which was Fulton County Airport (RCR). The pilot stated he was unable to reach RCR, turned into the wind, and began to look for a field or road to land on. The pilot reported, "Engine began to 'clatter'. Had already reduced throttle to 1/2 and now reduced to idle." The pilot stated that between 500 and 600 feet above ground level (agl) the engine lost complete power. The pilot reported, "Altitude loss became excessive ([approximately] 1,600 feet per min) Pitched down steeply to recover maneuvering speed. Flew between trees in fencerow and landed in muddy corn field [approximately] 150 [feet] from fencerow. Slid sideways [approximately] 125 feet to stop."

Post-accident investigation of the engine revealed the number 5 connecting rod bearing had excessive clearance.

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