On April 13, 2004, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P, N861DD, experienced a loss of engine power while in cruise flight, and was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Taylor, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial pilot and a passenger were not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Seamans Field, Factoryville, Pennsylvania, destined for Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that the airplane was in a climb at 5,500 feet, when the engine began to vibrate and lose power. He also observed an increase in oil temperature, and a decrease in oil pressure; which was followed by a total loss of engine power. The pilot established a glide and "broke out" of the clouds at 2,000 feet. He then performed a forced landing to a field; however, during the landing, the airplane's left wing impacted a tree.

The airplane was equipped with a Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) TSIO-520-BE engine.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed streaks of oil on the engine cowling. A 6-inch hole was observed in the top of the engine crankcase, in the vicinity of the number 2 cylinder, and the left magneto was separated. The engine was retained for further examination.

The engine was disassembled and examined under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The examination revealed that the number 2 connecting rod was broken into four pieces. The connecting rod journal was black in color and the metal had a "smeared" appearance. Fretting was observed on the mating surfaces of the number 2 main bearing saddles. In addition, the bearing shells had "walked" towards the rear of the engine about 1/4 of an inch. The crankcase through-bolt torques could not be determined. According to a TCM representative, a bearing shift could result in a decrease in oil flow to the journal, and a subsequent catastrophic engine failure.

The airplane had been operated for 26 hours, since it's most recent annual inspection, which was performed on March 8, 2004. The engine had been operated for about 1,700 hours, since it was rebuilt by TCM on February 21, 1995. The number 2 and 4 cylinders had been replaced about 830 hours prior to the accident.

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