This January 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: Cessna 182. Injuries: 2 Minor. Location: Reno, Nev. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that during cruise flight he felt a “significant shake” in the airplane and noticed that the engine was losing power. He decided to make a precautionary landing to a nearby road. During the descent, the engine quit completely. The landing was successful but during the landing roll the plane encountered a ditch and nosed over, resulting in substantial damage.
The post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the number one and two connecting rods had separated from the crankshaft and exhibited thermal and mechanical damage consistent with oil starvation. Fragments of the connecting rod bearings were located within the oil sump, along with portions of what appeared to be paper towel material. The oil pickup tube was intact and undamaged and the paper-towel-like material was found blocking the oil pickup tube screen and inlet port. The pilot reported that the engine had accumulated a total time in service of 3,039 hours, with 993 since last overhaul.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power during cruise due to oil starvation as a result of foreign material blockage of the oil pickup tube.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR10LA118