On September 8, 2009, about 1537 eastern daylight time, a Socata TB 9 Tampico, N135ER, registered to a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Milner, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight from Heart of Georgia Regional Airport (EZM), Eastman, Georgia, to Griffin-Spalding County Airport (6A2), Griffin, Georgia. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were not injured. The flight originated from EZM about 1500.

After takeoff the flight climbed to 8,500 feet mean sea level (msl) and continued towards the destination airport. The pilot reported he began descending when the flight 17 miles from his destination, with the engine rpm at 2,550. He did not recall the altitude but thinks the flight was between 7,000 and 6,500 feet msl when the engine began vibrating/shaking badly. He executed the emergency procedures and advised Approach Control, and believed at that time he was 13 miles from his destination (6A2). He pushed nearest airport in his GPS receiver and it indicated 6A2. He continued towards that airport and reduced power to 2,000 rpm but the vibrating/shaking continued. He slowly reduced power to idle and saw 6A2 when the flight was 8 miles away. He switched to the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) and when the flight was 5 miles from the airport he announced his intentions.

After recognizing that he would be unable to land at the airport, he announced on the CTAF that he would be landing in a. He turned to the left 30 to 45 degrees to land in a field but was too high for the first field. He then proceeded to a second field, reduced his airspeed to 70 knots, and when the flight was about 100 feet above ground level (agl), he secured the engine and lowered full flaps. While descending, when the flight was 20 feet agl, the airplane collided with the tops of pine trees. The left wing was impacted which caused the airplane to yaw to the left. Approximately 3 to 4 seconds later the airplane was on the ground and the nose landing gear collapsed.

Examination of the engine following recovery of the airplane revealed the exhaust valve of the No. 3 cylinder was missing and not recovered. The top of the No. 3 piston exhibited heavy impact damage associated with the missing exhaust valve.

Review of the maintenance records revealed overhauled cylinders were installed at all positions when the engine was overhauled on January 23, 1998. The time on each cylinder at the time of the engine overhaul was not determined. The overhauled engine was installed on February 6, 1998, and there was no record that the No. 3 cylinder had been removed or replaced since then at the time of the accident. The engine had accumulated approximately 1,918 hours since overhaul at the time of the accident.

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