NTSB Identification: ATL97LA003.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 13, 1996 in MACCLENNY, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: HARPER W-8 TAILWIND, registration: N91323
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 landed at a private airstrip and refueled with seven gallons of automotive fuel. After refueling the airplane, there was no record of the pilot checking for fuel contaminates in the fuel system. As the pilot taxied for takeoff, no aircraft problems were experienced. However, while climbing through 150 feet after takeoff, the pilot noted a rough engine condition followed by a loss of engine power. He elected to return to the airport for an emergency landing. Subsequently, the airplane collided with trees short of the airport. An examination of the airplane revealed contamination in the fuel system, which included rust/debris in the fuel tank, gasculator, carburetor inlet screen, and carburetor bowl. Examination of the engine (a surplus military Lycoming-Spencer O-290-G4) failed to disclose a mechanical problem.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in loss of engine power due to fuel contamination.

Full narrative available

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