NTSB Identification: LAX96LA281.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 20, 1996 in MESA, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/1996
Aircraft: Graham FALCON XP, registration: N647AA
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.
After takeoff, the pilot remained in the traffic pattern and initiated a go-around after the first landing. During the initial climb, the engine decelerated to idle, then lost all power. The pilot attempted to return to the airport, but was unable. The airplane was damaged during a forced landing in an orange grove. During an examination after the accident, no mechanical failure or malfunction was found with the engine or any of the engine components. The airplane's fuel system tank vent in the fuel cap was found closed. The design of the cap consisted of a rubber stopper that was squeezed by a threaded wing bolt. A small hole in the stopper served as a vent. When squeezing pressure was applied to the rubber stopper by turning the wing nut, the wall would expand, decreasing the size of the fuel system vent. Excessive tightening of the wing nut would squeeze the vent closed. The pilot had only about 4 hours of flight time in this make/model of airplane.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: blockage of the fuel system vent in the fuel cap, when the pilot overtorqued the fuel cap during his preflight check, which restricted fuel flow to the engine. The pilot's lack of experience in the make and model of airplane was a related factor. Full narrative available
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