NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD
ISSUED: February 8, 1984
A-84-10 and -11
On February 2, 1981, about 17 minutes after takeoff, a Piper PA-28R-201, N4542Q,
crashed into a wooded area near the Houghton County Airport, Houghton, Michigan. The
pilot and two of the passengers on board the airplane were seriously injured. One other
passenger received minor injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The weather at the
time of the accident was 2,000 feet overcast, 1/4-mile visibility with light snbw, and a
temperature of minus 5' F.
While in flight, the airplane's engine stopped suddenly. The investigation disclosed
that the stoppage was the consequence of oil starvation.
The investigation into the cause of the oil starvation revealed that the front
crankcase oil seal for the crankshaft was displaced outward. It was found also that the
crankcase breather line contained several pieces of ice about 1/2 inch in diameter. It was
concluded that the crankcase breather line had been blocked with ice, which resulted in
excessive pressure in the crankcase. The excessive pressure displaced the oil seal and
forced the oil overboard.