Aircraft: Taylorcraft BL-65. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Easton, Mo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The airplane had been inactive for some time. The purpose of the flight was to ferry it to another airport to complete the annual inspection.
The most recent annual inspection was completed in June 2005. The inspection had begun in June with the fuel system being serviced, but the annual inspection was incomplete and, therefore, not signed off at that time. In addition, potential flooding at that airport prompted the aircraft owner to move the airplane to his private airstrip for safe storage.
For the ferry flight the pilot used automotive gasoline and fueled the airplane from individual cans stored on site.
No ferry permit had been issued for the accident flight. According to the pilot, shortly after takeoff the engine started to lose power. He attempted to return for landing. The engine lost power completely and the pilot attempted a forced landing into a field. The airplane stalled about 20 feet above the ground and came down hard.
The post-accident examination revealed sufficient debris in the fuel system to restrict fuel flow to the carburetor. In addition, debris was observed in the individual gas containers used to fuel the airplane.
Probable cause: Debris in the fuel system, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Also causal was the pilot not maintaining sufficient airspeed, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: CEN12LA012
This October 2011 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.