On June 8, 2010, about 1200 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N5118L, was substantially damaged when it nosed over during a forced landing following loss of engine power in Lucedale, Mississippi. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight which originated at the H L Sonny Callahan Airport (4R4), Fairhope, Alabama, and was destined for the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport (PIB), Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, prior to departure from 4R4, he performed a pre-flight inspection which included checking the oil and filling the fuel tanks to full. He departed around 1130 and estimated the flight would be about one hour in duration. About 20 minutes after departure, at an altitude of 4,500 feet, he heard a "loud pop," and then the engine began to lose power. The pilot began to smell something burning and notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Mobile Air Traffic Control facility of his emergency. He was radar vectored to a nearby airport, but shortly after realized that it was too far away and that he would be unable to make it to the airport. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field, during which the airplane nosed over.
Examination of the airplane by a FAA inspector revealed substantial damage to the fuselage. Further examination of the Lycoming O-360 engine revealed the No. 3 cylinder had separated from the engine case. All of the attaching hardware was loose, and the thru-bolts were broken. No damage was observed to the valve train, piston, or cylinder interior.
According to the airplane and engine logbooks, on November 13, 2009, all four cylinders were "removed and replaced with overhauled exchange chrome cylinders," at a total aircraft time of 3,231 hours. The total time at the time of the accident was 3,247 hours.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on September 29, 2009. At that time he reported 530 total hours of flight experience.
The recorded weather at Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), 22 miles to the southeast, at 1156, included wind from 110 degrees at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 25,000 feet, temperature 31 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.09 inches mercury.