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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA13FA256
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 27, 2013 in Macon, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/07/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N4489F
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A review of air traffic control information revealed that, during the cross-county flight, the pilot requested clearance for a precautionary landing at a nearby airport due to a low oil pressure indication. Shortly after the flight was cleared for landing, the pilot reported that the engine had lost total power. The pilot advised the air traffic controller that he could not make it to the airport and requested to land at a military base that was closer to his current position. The pilot was cleared to land at the military base; however, he never established radio contact with the military base tower. The airplane crashed about 0.8 mile northeast of the base in a heavily wooded swamp, and a postcrash fire ensued.

An examination of the engine revealed that the crankcase was fractured in the areas of the Nos. 4, 5, and 6 cylinders, that the camshaft was fractured, and that the Nos. 4, 5, and 6 connecting rods were separated from the crankshaft. The Nos. 1 and 2 connecting rod bearings and the Nos. 2 and 3 main bearings exhibited wiping, scoring, and extrusion signatures consistent with oil starvation. Although review of maintenance records revealed that Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness directives for the replacement of the oil cooler hose and the oil filter converter plate gasket were not accomplished, extensive postcrash fire and heat damage to the engine components precluded a determination of the cause of the oil starvation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A total loss of engine power due to oil starvation for reasons that could not be determined due to extensive postcrash fire and heat damage to the engine components.