NTSB Identification: LAX95LA325.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 04, 1995 in TURLOCK, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/03/1996
Aircraft: CHAMBERS C1C, registration: N177GE
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

Maintenance had just been completed to both prepare the aircraft for the upcoming Reno Air Races and complete an annual inspection. During the process new wings of a different design were installed. On the morning of the accident a ground static run-up of the engine yielded poor performance due to fuel flow problems. Water was found in the carburetor float bowl. About 1 quart of fluid was drained from the fuel system to clear the contamination and a second check found no contamination. The engine was again subjected to a ground static run-up and found satisfactory. Prior to the final takeoff, the pilot performed two high-speed full power taxi tests. The pilot then initiated a takeoff and flew down to the runway departure end before a climb was started. About 100 feet agl in the takeoff initial climb, the engine quit, then went back to full power. The pilot then began a steep climb to gain pattern altitude and the engine began surging as the aircraft reached 700 feet agl. The engine problem continued throughout the rest of the aircraft's flight. The pilot was able to fly a downwind and base leg. After turning final, the pilot performed two slip maneuvers and an S-turn to lose altitude. During the turn, the bank angle reached 60 degrees, then suddenly increased to 90 degrees. The aircraft then stalled, snapped over inside onto it's back and spun to the ground. The carburetor and fuselage-mounted fuel tank were destroyed in the collision sequence. Control system integrity was established. No other discrepancies were noted during the examination of the wreckage.

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

a loss of engine power due to fuel system contamination and the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed while maneuvering for an emergency landing. Factors in the accident were: the inadequate procedures used to purge the fuel system of known contaminants during post maintenance testing, and the installation of newly designed wings which may have had aerodynamic qualities unfamiliar to the pilot.

Full narrative available

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