Jan. 04, Laconia, N.H. / Lake LA-4-250


At about 12:15 EST, a Lake LA-4-250 crashed during a forced landing in Laconia. The pilot was seriously injured and the flight instructor was killed. A witness said the pilot was receiving instrument flight instruction and had heard the IFR clearance the pilot received for practice approaches to Manchester Airport. A witness near the airport stated that the airplane was trailing smoke shortly after taking off from runway 26. Another witness about 3 miles farther on the departure path stated that he saw gray smoke trailing from the engine as the airplane was climbing. He recalled that the smoke and engine noise stopped, and started again as the airplane leveled off and began a left 180 degree turn. Witnesses at the accident site reported that the airplane crashed in a parking lot in a left wing down attitude, bounced through a snow bank and down a 15 foot embankment into a field. Witnesses said the wreckage was burning when they arrived and they were able to extract one pilot before the wreckage became engulfed in flames. An examination of the engine revealed a 5-inch hole on the top of the casing directly above the #3 and #4 connecting rods. After removal of the oil sump and melted ash, an additional hole was found on the bottom of the casing. The bottom hole aligned with the #4 and #5 connecting rods. The majority of the #4 connecting rod was absent, and the #5 connecting rod was protruding through the casing. Both rods displayed elongation and discoloration similar to that found in heat distress. The engine was shipped to a tear down facility for further examination.


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