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Oil Leak!

I had noticed a bit more oil leaking from the engine after the last two flights so I had my mechanic take a look during an oil change. We cleaned the engine and ran it for some time and three sets of Mark I eyeballs just couldn't see where the oil was coming from. It didn't seem to be much of a leak, so we decided to button it back up and keep an eye on it.

On the way back from the shop, about 10 miles south of a central valley airport and over low mountains, my back-seater and I noticed a drop in oil pressure - from 5.5 to about 4 or so. Then the needle started bouncing. I pulled the power to idle and executed an emergency landing by gliding to the nearest airport (now just a few miles away) as the oil pressure continued to drop to near zero. After rapidly shutting down, we discovered the aircraft to be COVERED IN OIL! We had quite a puddle of oil under the entire aircraft.

The mechanic on the field assisted in finding the problem - a fitting on the port side (see photo - has the oil pressure sensor and the line to the filter) of the oil pump had worked it's way loose.

We tightened the nuts, replaced the oil (19 quarts! There was still a quart of oil left in the tank) and ran the engine. No leaks were found and we had a stress filled, if uneventful, flight back to Watts-Woodland.

On my engine - these two nuts do not have lock washers, jam nuts or safety wire to ensure they won't come loose. I'd advise you all take a look at yours. Also, make sure you FIND the oil leak before you fly the plane again!