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NTSB Releases Final Report on March 2022 DA-40NG Accident

CFI and Student Seriously Injured in Engine Out Mishap

The NTSB has released its final report on a 25 March 2022 accident in which a Diamond Aircraft DA-40NG, registration N471BL, was substantially damaged and its two occupants—a flight instructor and a student receiving flight training—suffered serious injuries shortly after departing Smithfield, North Carolina’s Johnston Regional Airport (JNX).

The accident-aircraft was operated as an instructional flight under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

The NTSB set forth:

According to the flight instructor, shortly after takeoff, she heard a “weird” noise coming from the engine and noted a drop in engine rpm. The flight instructor directed the pilot receiving instruction to turn back toward the airport; however, the engine lost all power, and the airplane impacted trees about 1 mile from the departure end of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage.

"A post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the engine valvetrain was not timed correctly and that the misalignment resulted in a piston striking a valve. The valve head had separated and fallen into the cylinder, resulting in the total loss of engine power. Examination of the maintenance logbooks revealed that the cylinder head and exhaust camshaft had been replaced the day before the accident flight. Thus, it is likely that the engine’s timing was not set correctly after this maintenance.”

The agency determined the probable cause(s) of the described accident to have been:

Maintenance personnel’s failure to set the correct engine timing after the replacement of a cylinder head and exhaust camshaft before the accident flight, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.”

Parties interested in learning more about the described occurrence should reference NTSB Accident Number ERA22LA169.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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