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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 206973
Last updated: 13 June 2019
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Date:02-MAR-2018
Time:16:25
Type:Aero Commander 100-180 Lark
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: N3733X
C/n / msn: 5041
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Lamar County, Deport, TX -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Paris, TX (PRX)
Destination airport:Paris, TX (PRX)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
The private pilot reported that the airplane had been parked outside and exposed to an extended period of rainfall in the days leading to the accident. On the day before the accident, the pilot drained nearly 2 gallons of water from the fuel system before he saw clean, blue fuel. He subsequently repositioned the airplane on the ramp to see if he could get more water out of the tanks and installed new gaskets for the fuel caps. On the day of the accident, the pilot sumped the fuel system and found a small amount of water during the first check but reported that it was clear on the second check. During the pre-takeoff engine run-up, the airplane operated normally, and the pilot chose to depart.

About 25 minutes after takeoff, the pilot executed a steep turn about 500 ft above ground level. About 1 minute after leveling off, the engine sputtered once and experienced a total loss of power. His attempt to restart the engine was unsuccessful. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field but was unable to stop the airplane before hitting trees during the landing roll. He reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation before the loss of engine power. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing was separated from the airframe and contained no fuel. The left wing was about 1/2 full, but the fuel was not sampled. The fuel filler neck and cap showed large amounts of rust, indicative of inadequate maintenance of the fuel caps, which would have allowed water to enter the neck and tanks. It is likely that precipitation entered the fuel system around the poorly-maintained fuel filler and cap, which resulted in water contamination of the fuel, and that there was water remaining in the system even after the pilot drained large amounts of water before the flight, which resulted in the subsequent loss of engine power.

Probable Cause: A total loss of engine power due to water contamination of the fuel system. Contributing to the accident was the pilot/owner's inadequate maintenance of the fuel caps.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20180305X05731&key=1
FAA register: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=3733X

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Mar-2018 05:21 Geno Added
03-Mar-2018 09:03 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Source, Embed code]
22-Mar-2019 19:12 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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