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On September 19, 2004, about 2000 eastern standard time, a Navion airplane Navion G model, N2453T, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with a ditch during a forced landing following an in-flight loss of engine power on approach to Starke County Airport (OXI), near Knox, Indiana. The personal flight was operated under 14 CFR Part 91. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was hospitalized for minor injuries. The flight departed from Michigan City Municipal Airport, near Michigan City, Indiana, at time unknown.
The pilot's accident report stated:
I was flying home from a diner in Michigan City. Just as I was
approaching OXI it felt like I hit a curb in a car. The plane shifted to
the right. The engine [was] quiet. All the engine lights came on, I tried to
add power but it was dead. I lowered the gear and focused on flying
the plane without power. I did not use flaps thinking I could glide
farther. I set her down on her wheels and rolled into the ditch at the
end of the field.
The Starke County Sheriff's report stated that two witnesses "saw the plane coming in slow and did not hear the motor running and saw the plane set down in a field and then go into the ditch."
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot reported that his last medical examination was completed on February 28, 2004 and that he was issued a third-class medical certificate with no restrictions.
The pilot reported that he had a total time of 1,323 hours, of which 800 hours were in this make and model of airplane. The pilot stated that he had flown 15.8 hours during the last 90 days, 7.6 hours during the last 30 days, 1.3 hours in the last 24 hours, and 111 hours of night flight time.
N2453T was a 1962 Navion airplane Navion G model, serial number NAV-4-2453. The Navion G was a single-engine all-metal airplane of semimonocoque construction and was equipped with retractable landing gear, wing flaps, and a constant speed propeller. A 260 horsepower Continental IO-470-H (1B) engine, serial number CS87327-R, powered the airplane. The Navion G can be configured to accommodate up to five occupants, of which includes two pilot stations.
The last annual inspection was performed on January 6, 2004. Maintenance logbook entries showed the airplane had accumulated 4,084.53 hours total time and the engine had accumulated 442.0 hours since top overhaul as of the annual inspection. The engine had accumulated 456.6 hours since top overhaul as of the date of the accident.
At 1953, the recorded weather at Porter County Municipal Airport, near Valparaiso, Indiana, was: Wind 090 degrees at 03 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 17 degrees C; dew point 11 degrees C; altimeter 30.32 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The Starke County Sheriff's report stated that the airplane came to rest in a ditch on the North side of Route 250. The report stated that the airplane was "down in the bean field for [approximately] 75 yards before going into the ditch." The pilot reported that there was 35 gallons of fuel left in the airplane.
A Federal Aviation Administration Inspector examined the wreckage. No pre-impact anomalies were detected.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The engine was shipped to Teledyne Continental Motors for an operational test run. The engine's throttle body casting was found separated from its mounting flange. The metering unit attached to that casting was removed and was mounted on a serviceable casting. The engine's Y-shaped intake manifold and number one cylinder's intake manifold were damaged and were replaced with serviceable manifold parts. The engine was test run and produced rated power. The engine's throttle was advanced rapidly and the engine accelerated to rated power.
The engine was shipped back to OXI and the wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company.