On July 1, 2006, about 1040 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Beech P35 airplane, N8690M, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing on a remote beach following a loss of engine power during cruise, about 63 miles west of Gustavus, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated by the pilot. The private certificated pilot and the sole passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the Juneau International Airport, Juneau, Alaska, about 0945, and was en route to Yakutat, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on July 1, the pilot reported that his airplane was the lead airplane in a group of five airplanes that were traveling through Alaska. He said he was in cruise flight about 2,000 feet above the ground (agl) when he began to smell, and then see, what appeared to be smoke emanating from the engine. The engine subsequently lost power, and the pilot said he lowered the flaps and landing gear and performed an emergency landing on a beach area near Lituya Bay. During the landing roll, the nose gear collapsed. Other airplanes in the group reported the accident, and the pilot and passenger were transported to Sitka, Alaska, by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

The pilot reported that while waiting for rescue, he discovered that the number four cylinder connecting rod had fractured, and was protruding through the top of the engine case. The airplane was recovered and transported to Juneau, Alaska.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC on July 6, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Juneau Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), reported that his examination of the airplane confirmed the engine damage, and also revealed structural damage to the fuselage in the area of the collapsed nose gear.

Following recovery of the airplane to Juneau, the engine was examined on July 1, 2006, by an FAA inspector, and an air safety investigator from the manufacturer. The examination revealed a protruding hole in the engine case above the number 4 cylinder. Disassembly of the engine revealed that the number 4 connecting rod was fractured at the base of the rod beam. Fragments of the rod cap, the rod bearing, and the connecting rod bolts had thermal and mechanical damage. The rod cap bolts were necked down at the point of fracture. Fragments of the rod bearing were located in the engine oil sump.

According to the information contained in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) submitted by the pilot, the engine had accrued a total time of 2,552 hours since it was manufactured in 1963. The engine had accrued 1,482 hours since its last overhaul, and 9 hours since its last annual inspection on June, 24, 2006. The manufacturer's investigator reported that the last overhaul occurred in 1970.

The engine manufacturer issued Service Letter SIL98-9A in 1998, and revised it on March 28, 2003, which listed recommended Time Between Engine Overhaul (TBO) for their engine models. The recommended TBO for the accident engine is 1,500 hours, or every 12 years.

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