According to the private pilot, the engine run-up, taxi to the runway, and takeoff were normal.
After establishing a positive climb rate, he retracted the landing gear. Shortly after the gear retraction, the engine lost total power.
The pilot quickly tried to restart the engine without success and then conducted a forced landing on the remaining runway in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
The Navion hit the side of the runway and came to rest upright.
No fuel was found in the fuel lines from the firewall to the engine fuel system components. The fuel selector valve and gascolator were removed for further examination and testing.
A vacuum test of the fuel selector valve revealed no anomalies. The gascolator exhibited fuel staining on the top of the casting.
A vacuum test of the gascolator revealed that it leaked severely due to degraded rubber gaskets.
It is likely that the leaks in the gascolator allowed air to enter the fuel system and resulted in the loss of engine power.
The pilot said he typically needed to use the electric fuel boost pump in the low position to keep the engine running smoothly during the run-up and taxi until the engine reached normal operating temperature, which was contrary to the airplane checklist that was provided by the pilot.
Probable cause: A leak in the gascolator due to degraded rubber gaskets, which allowed air to enter the fuel system and resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power during takeoff.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA296
This July 2016 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.