This September 2008 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 Cherokee Lance. Injuries: None. Location: Augusta, Kan. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot was returning to his departure airport when the engine failed as he was preparing to enter the traffic pattern. He said he noticed the engine revolutions per minute at the red line and that it could not be controlled by the propeller lever. He declared an emergency and within approximately 30 seconds the engine failed and the propeller stopped. During the forced landing, the left wing hit the ground and the plane slid to a stop near the end of the runway.
An on-scene investigation conducted by an FAA inspector revealed that the engine sump did not contain oil. It was determined that the oil cooler interconnect line on the left oil cooler was only finger tight, which resulted in an oil leak and subsequent loss of all engine oil.
Probable cause: A loose oil line that resulted in a total loss of engine oil, causing the engine to cease.
For more information: NTSB.gov