NTSB Identification: LAX97LA029.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 31, 1996 in SHOW LOW, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 310H, registration: N1039Q
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.

The aircraft had been parked on the ramp for 7 days prior to the accident flight because of poor weather, which included snow, rain, and below freezing temperatures. The fuel tanks were partially filled with fuel. The pilot reported that no moisture was observed during the preflight of the aircraft, and that the engine run-up was normal. After departure and landing gear retraction, the right engine lost power. The pilot then pushed all engine power controls forward, and verified that the engine fuel boost pumps were on and the landing gear retracted prior to making an off-airport forced landing. According to the pilot's written statement, the engine failure occurred after lift-off and prior to obtaining Vyse. Subsequent examination of the four fuel filler cap O-rings revealed signs of deterioration and cracking, which was sufficient to allow water to enter the fuel tanks. The outside air temperature was below freezing the night prior to and the morning of the accident. The aircraft had completed an annual inspection 3 months and 15 hours prior to the accident flight. The right engine was examined following aircraft recovery with no discrepancies noted.

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

water/ice contamination in the fuel system and/or fuel filters due to failure of the maintenance facility that performed the annual inspection to identify and replace four cracked and deteriorated fuel filler cap O-rings. A factor in this accident was the pilot's failure to identify, and recognize the contamination hazard with, the cracked and deteriorated fuel filler cap O-rings during the preflight of the aircraft.

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