NTSB Identification: MIA95LA148.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 09, 1995 in SARASOTA, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/31/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-23-250, registration: N949BW
Injuries: 3 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 stated he drained the fuel sumps during the preflight inspection on the airplane and no water was found. The airplane became airborne on the takeoff roll just under 70 knots, and remained in ground effect at about 3 to 5 feet while accelerating to almost 80 knots. The left engine experienced a reduction in power, and the airplane began to settle but did not touch the runway. The left engine increased in power, decreased in power, and the airplane drifted to the left. The pilot maneuvered the airplane over a fence, ditch, and trees before landing in a field. The main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane collided with trees. Examination of the airplane by the FAA revealed no evidence of a mechanical failure of either engine. Water was present in the left engine gascolator sump bowl, internal baffle assembly, and congealed contaminants were present on the fuel screen. The No. 2, 3, and 6 cylinder sparkplugs and piston domes appeared white in color.

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

The pilot's improper draining of the fuel sumps during preflight inspection of the airplane. This resulted in a partial loss of engine power on the left engine on initial take off climb due to water contamination, subsequent forced landing, collapse of the main landing gear, and on-ground collision with trees.

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