Board: Metal particles found in crashed plane’s oil filter

The Wisconsin pilot of a single-engine Piper Cherokee Arrow II airplane that crashed in northern Lycoming County near the Black Forest on Dec. 23 was released from Geisinger Medical Center Thursday, the same day the National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary findings on the accident.

Vincent J. Mow, of Waukesha, Wis., crashed in a wooded area just a few hundred yards away from Route 44, several homes and the Black Forest Inn around 1:30 p.m. Emergency crews extricated him in about an hour from the wreckage after two boys saw the downed plane laying in a snowy, wooded area.

Mow, who started the day at the Waukesha County Airport was en route to the Kingston-Ulster Airport in Kingston, N.Y., when the accident took place. He was transported to Geisinger by a helicopter and admitted in serious condition.

Brian Rayner, a senior air safety investigator with the NTSB in Ashburn, Va., said the plane experienced a total loss of engine power while in flight near Lock Haven.

According to his report, Mow told Rayner that he was cruising at 7,500 feet when the engine began to surge and stopped producing power.

“An engine restart attempt was unsuccessful, and through communication with air traffic control and crosschecking his GPS receiver, the pilot determined he was beyond gliding distance of the nearest airport,” Rayner wrote. “He selected a forced landing area in a clearing, but the airplane entered trees prior to the clearing and came to rest upright in flat, heavily wooded terrain.”

The crash site was near a snow-covered landing strip north of the Black Forest Inn that had not been in use for years, according to those who were at the accident scene.

The NTSB report stated that Mow’s medical certificate was up to date and that he had 400 hours of flight experience.

Rayner said all major components of the plane were recovered at the scene. A preliminary examination of the engine “revealed metal particles in the oil filter and the finger strainer. The examination was then suspended, and a detailed examination of the engine was scheduled for a later date,” according to the report.

Rayner said the engine will be shipped to Lycoming Engines, 652 Oliver St., – where it was manufactured – for further examination.

The same plane, which was built in 1970, was involved in a 1988 accident in Dover, Del., according to the NTSB.

A different pilot noticed shortly after takeoff that oil was spraying from underneath the engine compartment. Before an emergency landing in a field, the engine began to run rough and stopped. The NTSB concluded the probable cause of that accident was an unsecured oil line which led to a loss of fluid.