Aircraft: Cessna 177RG. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Location: Tallapoosa, Ga. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The airplane was in cruise flight at 4,000 feet when the engine lost oil pressure.
The pilot declared an emergency. He requested and received radar vectors to the nearest airport. Shortly thereafter, the pilot advised the controller that he was unable to reach the airport and was going to land in a field.
According to a witness, the airplane flew over his home at a low altitude then made a sharp, banking turn in an attempt to land in a clearing. The airplane missed the clearing, hit a tree, then caught fire.
During the post-accident examination of the engine, the left and right crankcase halves were found fractured between the No. 1 and No. 2 cylinder base pads. The No. 2 crankshaft journal was visible through the crankcase fracture, and no connecting rod was observed on the journal.
Further examination of the No. 2 cylinder rod cap and the related bolt pieces revealed that the rod cap was fractured. It also revealed that the bearing shells for the No. 3 and No. 4 cylinders displayed severe abrasive wear on the bearing surfaces.
Investigators determined that due to the failure of the No. 2 rod end cap bolt, the rod end cap came loose, which resulted in a fracture of the case halves and subsequent loss of engine oil. After the loss of engine oil, the engine seized, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.
Probable cause: The failure of the No. 2 rod end cap bolt, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.
NTSB Identification: ERA12FA084
This November 2011 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.