On February 3, 2003, at 1745 central standard time, a Mooney M20J single-engine airplane, N658FT, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following a loss of engine power after takeoff from the Lakefront Airport, near New Orleans, Louisiana. The airplane was registered to and operated by Air Reldan, Inc., of New Orleans, Louisiana. The commercial pilot, and his three passengers, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight departed from the Lakefront Airport at approximately 1740.

According to the pilot, about 5 minutes after departure he heard a "loud bang," which was followed by a total loss of engine power. The 593-hour pilot turned back to the northeast to land in a near by field. During the forced landing, the airplane contacted trees and a 10-foot high concrete levee before coming to rest in the upright position.

According to one of the passengers, five to seven minutes into the flight "he heard an explosion on the engine," followed by smoke from penetrating the cabin from the engine compartment.

Examination of the wreckage by FAA inspectors, who responded to the accident site, revealed that both wings were bent, the engine was separated from the airframe, and three of the four engine mounts were separated from the airframe structure. The airplane was powered by a 200-horsepower Lycoming IO-360-A3B6D four cylinder engine featuring a single-drive magneto. The single-drive magneto was found separated from its accessory drive. In addition, the engine accessory housing attachment bold threads were not striped and showed no signs of damage.

According to the Service Instruction (S.I.) 1508, "In the Mooney M20J-201 there have been reports of the hardware attaching the dual magneto to the studs in the engine accessory housing becoming loose after maintenance in the field. It is possible that during maintenance, the attachment nuts are not being torqued to specifications or that hardware has not been installed properly." SI-1508 also recommends that the SI-1508 be complied with at the next oil change, but not to exceed 50 hours of operation. The attaching nuts are torqued to 17 ft.-lbs. (204 in.-lbs.).

The date when the last magneto maintenance was performed could not be established due to the the aircraft maintenance records not being available for examination.

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