NTSB Identification: LAX99LA159.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 20, 1999 in SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/23/2000
Aircraft: Cessna R182, registration: N7317X
Injuries: 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 pilot reported that he was about 6 miles northwest of the airport, returning to the airport for landing, the engine abruptly and completely ceased delivering power. The aircraft descended through a stratus cloud layer and broke out beneath a 900-foot ceiling. The pilot determined that the aircraft would not glide to the airport and made an emergency landing in an open field beside a highway. The right wing struck a sign during the landing. FAA inspectors reported that the engine fuel sump contained a clear fluid resembling water, and that the right-hand fuel tank sump drain had a threaded plug installed which precluded routine sampling of the tank for water.

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

The inadequate preflight inspection of the aircraft by the pilot-in-command which resulted in a loss of engine power due to water contamination in the fuel system. A factor in the accident was an improper maintenance alteration which disabled a fuel sump drain.

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