17 - More Engine Failure Anecdotes

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Hello again everybody,

Here are yet more True Tales.

Thanks again to Ian Wright for being kind enough to send me a follow up e-mail from Joe_K34 of Kansas City at Cherokee Pilot Chat on the engine failure he reported last week, plus another from mike21002 on a second engine failure, this time on a Continental engine. Just goes to show you always need to have a forced landing field in sight or in mind!

We pulled the motor off of my Cherokee 140 today, and it became clear what caused the failure that I originally reported to this group last Sunday. A non-standard oil gauge line fitting failed and pumped all of the oil overboard. The fitting (see picture below) was attached to the rear of the accessory case and connected oil pressure gauge line to the case. The fitting had actually been partially broke for some time. Only about 1/3 of the break was fresh.

The second picture was another surprise this morning. Something inside obviously failed and punched a hole in the top of the case behind the #2 cylinder. The initial, very preliminary inspection did not reveal this hole last Sunday.

When we opened the quick drain... nothing came out. The search for a container to capture any remaining oil was a waste of time!! Even though the motor never completely stopped, it looks like the chances of the crankshaft being salvageable are getting slimmer and slimmer. I guess the core value is also getting poorer and poorer. Damn this is fun!

Something else that I am having a hard time figuring out... Two of the spark plugs and two fuel system fittings were loose when we removed them today. My AI said that would not be uncommon given the vibration and violent shaking the engine when through when failing. I am having a hard time believing that but I guess it is possible.

Even though the motor mount looked good, we removed it and will be sending it out to be inspected. It obviously took a lot of punishment, and I don't want to pull the motor again to fix a crack that shows itself later.

I guess the positive news is I will be getting a fresh motor. Hopefully will finally be rid of all of the tractor parts some SOB decided to use sometime during the past 38 years.

Joe_K34 Kansas City

Sat Oct 9, we were flying to Mexico when a buddy in a Skylane with a fairly new Texas Skyways engine conversion threw a rod through the top of his case. He was at 9500 feet and was able to dead stick it into L54 Auga Caliente just south of Borrego Springs.

He said that the event was sudden and unannounced. He has about 460 hours on the motor which has a 2500 hour TBO. He has a JPI and said all was normal until the event. Go figure. I want to see what the download shows. It may reveal something.

We were a little behind him when we heard him announce an emergency. The radio went silent after that as Center tried to contact him. Following several minutes of worry which I cannot describe, an airliner relayed he was on the ground. We diverted to L54 which was in the middle of nowhere and found him and his three passengers waiting. To his credit his passangers all said they never got scared. Later that day there was some drinking involved.

He did a great job getting her down but landed about 20 ft short of the runway in the gravel, there are some huge down drafts in that area. He did no damage to the aircraft and he said it was pretty much like training: locate a place to land, watch the airspeed and fly it to the ground. Center coached him through the carb heat, switching tanks, mags etc, all of which he had done. He knew it was catasthrophic since he heard the sound of metal breaking and the sudden loss of oil pressure.

He said that he was trying to make the numbers as he usually trains. He said that next time (which I hope he dosn't have) he will aim to land long.

mike21002

Bob Grimstead
SABC Safety Committee