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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN16LA391
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 30, 2016 in Cloquet, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/26/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG, registration: N1528H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, during cruise flight, the airplane’s engine began making an unusual ticking sound and the oil pressure was low. The oil pressure continued to drop, and the engine began to “knock” louder until it experienced a total loss of power. The pilot attempted to glide to an airport, but the airplane had insufficient altitude and landed in a field short of the intended runway. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 4 connecting rod had failed, and displayed signatures consistent with a lack of lubrication. The other connecting rods also exhibited signs of a lack of lubrication, and the oil pickup screen contained debris. The engine had sufficient oil in the sump, and examination of the components of the oil system failed to reveal any preimpact anomalies. The engine manufacturer recommended that engines be overhauled at least every 12 years due to possible deterioration of engine components and abnormal wear on soft metal bearing surfaces during engine start procedures. The accident engine had not been overhauled for 23 years; however, the investigation was unable to determine if or to what extent the damage to the engine was a result of the connecting rod failure or may have occurred before the failure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A lack of lubrication in the engine for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information, which resulted in a failure of the No. 4 connecting rod and a subsequent total loss of engine power.