August 7, 2011, Milsap, Texas, Piper PA-28-180


At approximately 1430 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage after a section of propeller blade separated in flight and the pilot made a forced landing on a highway. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported he was just about to level off at 3400 feet and reduce engine power from full throttle to cruise power when the airplane made a “severe jerk” and began to vibrate violently. The pilot observed smoke coming through the firewall and faceplates on his instrument panel began to fall off. He shut off the engine by pulling the mixture control. Once the engine stopped, the pilot could see a large section of a propeller blade was missing. He then trimmed the airplane for best glide speed and landed on a road. During the landing roll-out, the airplane’s right wing struck a road sign.


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