Stuck exhaust valve leads to crash

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The flight instructor reported that, shortly after the student pilot conducted the takeoff for the instructional flight, they felt the engine vibrate and the Cessna 172 shudder.

They then noticed that the rpm had decreased and that the engine’s performance had degraded.

The instructor took the controls and lowered the nose to prevent a stall.

He attempted to land on the intersecting runway at the airport in Lynchburg, Virginia. The plane touched down with about 100 feet of runway remaining.

Realizing that the plane could not be stopped within the remaining runway, the instructor steered the airplane right to avoid a steep drop-off past the runway end. The airplane subsequently hit a ditch and then came to rest in grass in a nose-down position.

The left wing sustained substantial damage.

Post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 2 cylinder exhaust valve was stuck open. Given this evidence, it is likely that the stuck exhaust valve resulted in the partial loss of engine power.

Probable cause: The stuck No. 2 cylinder exhaust valve, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power and a subsequent forced landing and impact with a ditch.

NTSB Identification: ERA19LA019

This October 2018 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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