NTSB Identification: CHI99LA131.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 24, 1999 in GREENCASTLE, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N3270T
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight made a forced landing after an in-flight loss of power and was substantially damaged during roll out. Prior to the flight, the pilot performed a walkaround and found the airplane's fuel was full. He noticed in-flight the left fuel gauge read about 1/2 and less than 1/2 on the right. He decided to divert. The engine was losing power and he attempted an emergency landing in a wet grass and muddy field. After landing, the right fuel cap was found, out of it's filler neck area, on top of the right wing, and in the locked position. The pilot stated that if he had been notified of the fuel cap malfunction, the accident could have been prevented. A lineman parked and fueled the airplane with the owner before the accident. The lineman said the right wing fuel cap was not engaged in its filler neck area, was held on by its chain, and found in the locked position on top of the wing. The lineman stated the right wing had a blue trail down the back of the wing about 8 to 10 inches wide. The lineman said he told the owner about the cap. The lineman re-installed the right cap in its filler neck area on the wing. The cap was examined after the accident and the self-locking nut on the bottom of the fuel cap could be turned by hand. The cap's dome was found not seated on the bolt. The dome could be moved by hand.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot operating with known deficiencies in equipment and the fuel cap that disengaged. Factors were the wet grass, and muddy terrain conditions.

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