National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15
NTSB Identification: ERA17LA034
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 31, 2016 in Bartow, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N3941X
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On October 31, 2016, at 1502 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Piper PA-32-300, N3941X, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Bartow, Florida. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated at Sanford International Airport (SFB), Orlando, Florida, and was destined for Bartow Municipal Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida.
According to the pilot, after entering a left downwind leg for the runway 05 traffic pattern at BOW, he reduced engine power and the airplane began to vibrate and shake. The engine then lost all power, while the propeller continued to windmill. He attempted to restart the engine using the emergency checklist procedures, but was unsuccessful. He determined he would not be able to reach the runway, and maneuvered toward a nearby pasture for an emergency landing. During the landing rollout, the airplane struck a fence damaging the left wheel hydraulic brake line which caused a loss of brake pressure. When he applied the brakes, he lost directional control and the nose landing gear collapsed.
Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the firewall was damaged, and the fuselage skin aft of the firewall was wrinkled. An unmeasured amount of fuel was present in all four fuel tanks, and fuel was present at the fuel injector nozzles. Oil was present in the crankcase, and cylinder compression was attained on all cylinders when the propeller was rotated by hand. While rotating the engine, a grinding/crunching noise occurred once, but was not repeatable. The magnetos made noise consistent with rotation, but were not tested for spark. The engine oil filter contained metallic particles and when tested with a magnet, the metal particles were attracted to it.
According to the FAA inspector, the engine had accrued about 2,060 total hours since overhaul, and the airplane had flown about 25 hours since the most recent annual inspection.
The engine was retained for further examination.