On May 25, 2008, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Boeing A75N1 (Stearman), N46996, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain, after it experienced a partial loss of engine power, during takeoff from a private airstrip in Romney, West Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the personal local flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the airplane departed to the south from a turf runway; however, shortly after takeoff, the airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power. Unable to out-climb rising terrain, the pilot intentionally allowed the airplane to stall into the treetops. The airplane's left wing struck a large pine tree, and the airplane came to rest in a heavily wooded area.

Examination of the airplane was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector. The examination revealed that the left magneto would not produce spark when rotated and subsequent disassembly of the magneto revealed that the cam follower was broken.

According to the inspector, the magneto was installed at the time of the engine's most recent overhaul, which was performed on October 18, 2001. The engine had been operated for about 300 hours since the overhaul. The inspector further stated that the prior service history of the magneto could not be determined, except that it was in storage for about 9 years prior to its installation on the accident airplane.

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