Aircraft: Piper Tri-Pacer. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Bangor, Mich. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: On the day before the accident, the owner/pilot made a forced landing to a field due to a loss of engine power.
Examination of the airplane after the off-airport landing revealed that the gascolator screen was almost completely plugged by a flaky, shellac-type material.
The airplane had a history of automotive fuel use, and the FAA inspector who examined the airplane told the pilot that he should have a local mechanic do a thorough fuel system evaluation and flushing before further flight. He reminded the pilot that there were screens in the fuel tanks, carburetor, and in the belly sump that should be checked and cleaned.
On the day of the accident, the pilot and a local mechanic added fuel to the right fuel tank and performed fuel flow tests. The pilot decided to fly.
The engine quit during takeoff. The airplane hit the ground in a left turn and nosed over.
Examination of the airplane after the accident revealed that the carburetor and gascolator screens were 50% obstructed.
According to investigators, neither the pilot or mechanic reported flushing the fuel system to remove the residual fuel system contaminants before the accident flight.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to properly service the fuel system, and subsequent decision to conduct the flight with known fuel system deficiencies, which led to the total loss of engine power.
NTSB Identification: CEN12LA348
This June 2012 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.