April 1, 2011, Greenwood, Miss., Piper PA 46-350P


The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings during a precautionary landing at 1820 Central time following a partial loss of engine power during climb to cruise. The airline transport pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an instrument flight plan was filed to New Orleans, La. The flight originated from Memphis, Tenn., at 1720.

The pilot reported hearing a loud “pop” and observing a large reduction in manifold pressure while climbing through 13,000 feet msl. The pilot decided to make a precautionary landing, declared an emergency to ATC and initiated a slow descent to the nearest suitable airport. After learning there was no mechanic at the selected airport, the pilot then decided to divert to Greenwood, which was further than the original divert airport.

Upon reaching Greenwood, the airplane was a “little high” and the pilot planned on flying a downwind-to-final approach. However, oil pressure was low and decreasing rapidly, so the pilot decided to land straight-in. He lowered the landing gear to assist in losing altitude and continued to run the engine until he thought he could make the runway, then shut it down and completed the emergency landing checklist. The airplane touched down hard and collided with a ditch.


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