April 3, 2012, Eastover, S.C., Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow


At about 1400 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base (MMT). The private pilot and the passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Approximately 25 minutes after takeoff, the engine began to run rough. The pilot reduced power, but engine roughness increased and oil pressure dropped to zero. While attempting to divert to one airport, the pilot saw MMT and decided to divert to it and land on Runway 32. As he approached the runway, an F-16 took off from Runway 14; the accident airplane was caught in its wake turbulence and rolled about 45 degrees. The pilot was able to recover to wings-level but did not have sufficient altitude to properly align with the runway. He landed at a 20- to 30-degree angle to the runway and the airplane veered off the right side, striking a sign at approximately 50 mph before coming to a stop. Subsequent examination revealed the engine’s #2 cylinder upper aft through-bolt was sheared off, the #2 cylinder upper mounting studs were loose and backed off from the crankcase, and the crankcase was cracked, with oil leaking in the vicinity of the #2 cylinder lower aft through-bolt.


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