Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: None. Location: Wikieup, Ariz. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: A student pilot and CFI were in cruise flight when the engine power became intermittent, followed by a total loss of power. The CFI established best-glide airspeed for the forced landing. During the landing roll on rough terrain, the airplane’s nose gear hit a rut and the gear was sheared off.
A post-accident engine run revealed that the engine would operate at idle power briefly but would not accelerate as the throttle was moved forward. While the engine was running, fuel was dripping from the main fuel supply line from the fuel strainer to the carburetor inlet.
Examination of the fuel line revealed that approximately 6 inches of the 18-inch hose assembly was deteriorated and cracked, resulting in the leak. A replacement hose assembly was installed, and the engine ran normally under all parameters.
The data tag on the deteriorated hose assembly indicated that it had been in service for more than 20 years. No maintenance record documentation was found indicating that any hose assemblies had been replaced or repaired.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power during cruise flight resulting from the failure of a fuel line. Contributing to the accident was inadequate maintenance inspections that failed to detect the deteriorating fuel line.
NTSB Identification: WPR11LA135
This February 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.