NTSB Identification: NYC96LA109.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 18, 1996 in STEAMBURG, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: McCall WATCHA-MCCALL-IT, registration: N111MC
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 purchased the homebuilt airplane on the day of the accident. He examined the airplane, changed the oil, replaced the old gas with autofuel, and performed some ground taxing. About ten minutes after takeoff, at about 3,000 feet, the engine lost power. The pilot turned toward a large field; however, the glide ratio was lower than he expected, and he changed his forced landing area to a smaller field. After clearing trees, the airplane landed hard on soft plowed terrain. Examination of the airplane revealed two loose spark plugs, and no fuel in the lines, pump, or filter. An aluminum fuel line fitting at the fuel filter was found 'very loose.' The airplane had been flown about 6 hours since the airplane's previous annual inspection, which was performed about 3 years before the accident. A ferry permit had not been issued for the flight, and the pilot was not a certificated airframe and power plant mechanic. He had accumulated about 110 hours of flight time in single engine airplanes. His total flight experience, during the previous 90 days, was 2 hours flown in gliders and less than 30 minutes in the make and model of airplane.

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

the pilot/owner's failure to ensure adequate maintenance/inspection of the airplane; and a loose fuel line fitting, which resulted in a subsequent fuel leak, fuel starvation, and loss of engine power. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's misjudgment of distance and altitude, which resulted in a landing on unsuitable terrain; his lack of experience in this make and model of aircraft; and his lack of recent experience in powered airplanes.

Full narrative available

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