Loose fitting results in oil leak

This March 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Piper Arrow. Injuries: None. Location: Eliza Island, Wash. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The accident flight was the first after the airplane had undergone annual inspection. About 10 to 15 minutes into the flight, the engine experienced a total loss of power.

During a forced landing to a grass strip, the automatic landing gear extension system deployed the landing gear and the airplane landed short of the runway. The right wing hit a post.

The post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the crankcase was cracked and the bottom of the fuselage was covered with oil. The oil originated from a fitting that attached the propeller governor high-pressure oil line from the nose of the crankcase to the propeller governor that was loose. Investigators determined that it was not adequately tightened by maintenance personnel. Maintenance records indicated that during the annual inspection the propeller governor on the engine’s accessory section had been removed in an effort to replace its gasket.

Probable cause: The total loss of engine power during cruise flight due to the failure of maintenance personnel to tighten a fitting on the propeller governor oil line, which resulted in a loss of engine oil and catastrophic engine failure.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR10LA165

 

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