DEN07LA133
DEN07LA133

On August 1, 2007, approximately 1615 central daylight time, a Walker Lancair IV, N7441W, piloted by an airline transport-certificated pilot, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power three miles southeast of Sylvan Grove, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was seriously injured. The cross-country flight originated at Junction City, Kansas (3JC), and was en route to Farmington, New Mexico (FMN). Its final destination was Santa Barbara, California (SBA).

The pilot had just purchased the airplane and was ferrying it home. According to the pilot's accident report dictated to an FAA inspector from his hospital bed, the airplane had been "fully serviced with fuel and oil" prior to his departure. During the initial climb to 10,500 feet, the electronic manifold pressure gauge malfunctioned so he managed power "by throttle position." He reduced power when the number 2 cylinder head temperature increased more than the other cylinder head temperatures. Almost immediately upon leveling off, the engine lost power. When the fuel boost pump was switched to HIGH, the engine "fired and achieved lower power for 30 seconds." Mixture control manipulation restarted the engine, but after a few seconds there was "an explosion and a lot of smoke." The engine stopped but [the propeller] "appeared to be turning freely" all the way down. The pilot made a rapid descent and landed in an open field. The airplane rolled about 400 feet, crested a small rise, then struck a ground depression that collapsed the landing gear and buckled the firewall. The airplane then slid sideways for another 300 feet. The pilot used his cellular telephone to alert authorities of the accident.

FAA inspectors examined the engine, a Continental TSIO-550-B-1-B (s.n. 802008), and found evidence of catastrophic engine failure. An oil line to the turbocharger wastegate actuator had come loose, resulting in oil starvation and high heat distress. A hole in the engine case exposed the number 5 journal and imprints from rod bolt strikes. The airplane was built in 1992. The engine had a total time of 88 hours.

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