Pilot weight (without motor): 225 US Pounds
Rating: Intermediate (PPG2 or Equivalent)
Experience: 10-50 Hours Solo
Incident Detail Information
Type of Incident: Other
Primary Cause: Not Applicable
Contributing Distractions: None
Windspeed: Light (Less than 5 MPH)
Wind Type: Steady
Thermal Conditions: None
Surface: Not Applicable
Terrain: Not Applicable
Site Elevation: 450 (feet above sea level)
Phase of Flight: Cruise
Purpose of Flight: Recreation
Safety Gear Used:
Sunday evening was beautiful and I was at 1100’, about 30 minutes into the flight. Out of nowhere, I heard a loud bang and my power was suddenly reduced to (at best) 1/3 of normal. I scanned the ground and had several options for landing if need be. I flew in the direction of the field - with the wind the whole way. I could not maintain altitude and thought that if I dropped to 300’ and still not back at the field, I would turn into the wind and land out. I did manage to make it back to the field and had an uneventful power off landing.
The culprit was a bolt that connects the tuned pipe to the engine had sheared off (going through the prop), effectively eliminating back pressure on the engine.
Had this happened while low to the ground and flying with the wind, the results could have been quite different.
I believe that unpredictable situations can and do happen but the outcomes related to our safety are always controllable.
Hope to be back out this weekend.
PS – As luck would have it, my helmet camera was on the entire time, allowing for a critique.
Photo: No photo on file.