The pilot intended to make a short flight from Rednal to Sleap as part of the aircraft’s annual maintenance check. He reported that engine operation on the ground was normal but “oil pressure was slow to increase, and was giving a fluctuating indication”.
The fluctuations continued when airborne but, with temperature indicating normal, he requested a Basic Service from RAF Shawbury and set off towards Sleap. Almost immediately thereafter the indicated oil pressure decayed to zero, but the temperature was “still in the middle of the green arc”. He advised Shawbury of his intention to return to Rednal with a possible engine failure. As he initiated a turn the engine began to lose power and vibrate and on rolling wings level at approximately 1,200 ft agl, it ceased producing power.
Unable to make the runway, the pilot carried out a forced landing in a wheat field. During the landing the left wingtip and aileron spade caught an undulation and the aircraft came to rest inverted. The pilot opened the canopy and exited without assistance.
It was reported that preliminary examination of the engine confirmed a mechanical failure associated with the No 4 cylinder connecting rod bearing.