On November 14, 2007, about 1550 Pacific standard time, a Beech A36, N435M, sustained substantial damage following a forced landing as result of a loss of engine power while climbing to cruise altitude near El Centro, California. The certificated private pilot and his two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight, which was operated in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed the Calexico Airport (CXL), Calexico, California, about 1540, and was destined for the Whiteman Airport (WHP), Los Angeles, California.

The pilot reported in a written statement that about 5 minutes after departing CXL and climbing through 5,500 feet mean sea level, the [engine] temperature began to increase, followed by "... the engine making a loud noise and we noticed oil on the windshield. That is when the engine quit." The pilot stated that after determining that he could not make the nearest airport, he elected to land in an alfalfa field. The pilot reported that after touching down and rolling out the airplane's nose landing gear collapsed. The airplane came to rest in an upright position and there was no fire.

A Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector, who traveled to the accident site, reported that both wings had sustained substantial damage. It was also reported by a licensed FAA airframe and powerplant mechanic that the engine's number 2 cylinder had failed.

A post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the break-away torque of the #2 cylinder through bolts and deck studs were found loose. It was also observed that the bolts on the 7th studs were found loose and were not installed with the conical seated nuts. Additionally, the right side #2 main bearing half was damaged and had shifted aft approximately 3/8th of an inch, covering the oil transfer tubes on the bearing support. It was also observed that the #2 connecting rod had separated from the crankshaft and exhibited thermal and impact damage. The #2 connecting rod journal exhibited thermal damage and displaced material.

A review of maintenance records indicated that the airplane underwent its most recent annual inspection on August 3, 2007, at a tach time of 749.5 hours. On October 20, 2007, maintenance records revealed that the airplane's #2 cylinder was replaced due to low compression at a tach time of 808.6 hours. The pilot reported having flown the airplane 24 hours since the #2 cylinder had been changed.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page