...Faulty Part, FAA Blamed
The probable cause, says the NTSB, was improper manufacturing of a crankshaft bolt that was supplied by Champion Bolt Corp. About two weeks after the crash, Lycoming issued a Service Bulletin to replace bolts on certain 540-series engines, and in October 2002, the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive to also replace the bolts. An earlier AD had mandated replacement of the bolts in helicopters. The NTSB report also cited as a "causal" factor that Lycoming had failed to remove the bolts from all of its fixed-wing engines, although four years had passed since the bolts had first been identified as flawed. The FAA's inaction on the matter also was cited as a factor in the accident. The bolts had been known to fail twice in helicopters in 1998, once in a Piper Saratoga in 1999, twice in Royal Jordanian Falcon trainer airplanes in 2000 and 2001, and again in a Piper Saratoga in June 2002, the NTSB said. In September 2002, the fatal New Jersey accident occurred.