This April 2008 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.
Aircraft: Cessna 152. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Okeechobee, Fla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot departed on a cross-country flight with the intention of stopping at several airports along the way. She did a touch-and-go landing at one airport, and made a full stop landing at the next airport. The airplane was serviced with six gallons of fuel, and she departed for her original airport. About 10 minutes after taking off, the engine lost power. She followed the published emergency procedures but was unable to restart the engine. She landed the airplane on a road, but it nosed over and came to rest in an inverted position, resulting in substantial damage.
Examination by an FAA inspector revealed no obvious mechanical deficiencies with the engine. The inspector also saw that the gascolator contained a significant amount of water. The pilot stated that she drained the fuel tank sumps or gascolator before takeoff from the departure airport but did not do so after the airplane was refueled.
Probable cause: The loss of engine power during cruise flight due to fuel contamination, and the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection.
For more information: NTSB.gov