The pilot was flying the Ercoupe 415C under a ferry permit to the destination airport. However, due to unsafe runway conditions at that airport, he chose to land at an alternate airport near St. Jacob, Illinois.
Upon arrival at the alternate airport, he executed an aborted landing. He applied engine power and climbed to about 150 to 200 feet, then the engine lost power without any warning.
During the forced landing, the airplane sustained substantial wing and firewall damage.
During a post-accident engine run using the Ercoupe’s header tank fuel, the engine started, ran roughly, and would not accelerate smoothly.
The header tank was drained, and fresh aviation fuel was added to the tank; the engine then ran smoothly and accelerated normally.
The engine likely lost power due to contaminated fuel.
Probable cause: The loss of engine power during the go-around due to fuel contamination.
NTSB Identification: CEN15LA177
This March 2015 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.