On May 7, 2008, at 0937 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182L, N42116, crashed into a residential area, about 1 mile from the Bowman Field Airport (LOU), Louisville, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot received serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

The pilot stated that he departed from LOU, enroute to Bloomington, Indiana. About 10 miles from LOU the engine started running rough, and he immediately turned back to the airport. While on short final approach, the engine stopped and he made a forced landing in the backyard of a private residence. When asked if he recalled the engine and instrument indications, he said that all the engine indications were normal. The cylinder head temperature was "ok," and the propeller was at 2,700 rpm. He also said that the engine oil pressure indication was in the green arc.

The pilot, age 52, held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His certificate was issued on January 9, 2008. He also held a third-class medical certificate, issued on December 7, 2007, with limitations for corrective lenses. At the time of his last medical certificate, the pilot reported a total flight experience of 200 hours. The pilot's logbooks were not available for review, and a determination of his total flight hours could not be completed.

The four-seat, high-wing, fixed-gear airplane was manufactured in 1968. It was powered by a Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) O-470R, 230-horsepower engine and was equipped with a two-bladed McCauley constant speed propeller. Review of the maintenance logbook records showed that an annual inspection was completed on October 20, 2007, at tachometer reading 2135.9 hours, and an airframe total time of 4263.4 hours. The tachometer time at the time of the accident was 2175.34 hours.

Examination of the airplane revealed that it came to rest in the backyard of a private residence. The cockpit, fuselage, and empennage were crushed. The left and right wings were buckled and impact damaged. Examination of the fuel system revealed that there was fuel leakage around the airplane. Approximately 20 gallons of fuel were defueled from the wings. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were buckled. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator were buckled. Flight control cable continuity was established throughout the airframe. The airframe and flight control system components revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction.

Visual examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 and No. 2 connecting rods were broken and came through the top of the aft section of the engine case. The engine was disassembled for further examination. Disassembly of the engine revealed that the No. 5 piston failed. Review of the engine logbook revealed that the engine was overhauled on May 1, 1992, by TCM. The engine was installed on May 15, 1992 at an aircraft tachometer time of 814 hours. During a 100-hour inspection on August 24, 2003, at a tachometer time 1766.68 hours, the No. 1, 2, and 3 cylinders were replaced for low compression, with overhauled units. During a 100-hour inspection on September 25, 2005, low compression was noted on the No. 6 cylinder and it was replaced; there were 1140.22 hours on the remanufactured engine at the time of that replacement.

The No. 5 piston was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory for further examination. Analysis of the piston (part No. 626992) revealed that it fractured due to fatigue cracking. Dark deposits on the fracture indicated that the crack existed prior to the event, and the origin area was obliterated by postfracture damage. Review of service difficulty reports (SDR) revealed that during a period of more than 10 years, two other engines suffered a piston failures related to the same part number.

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