NTSB Identification: LAX97LA080.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 31, 1996 in FULLERTON, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 182P, registration: N9003M
Injuries: 2 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.

According to both pilots, following receipt of their departure release and takeoff clearance, the aircraft took off and climbed to approximately 500 feet agl when the engine smoothly lost power. The engine power returned briefly, dropped off, surged, and then quit altogether. The pilot flying the aircraft attempted to return to the runway, but had insufficient altitude and collided with a fence at the approach end of runway 24. That pilot reported that a preflight had been conducted per the POH and that no abnormalities were found. The aircraft was examined by an FAA airworthiness inspector who reported finding the gascolator bowl half full of water and the carburetor bowl completely full of water. No water was found in either fuel tank when the sump drains were checked. The engine was then started and run for a 10-minute period with no abnormalities noted. Additionally, the FAA inspector found that the left tank fuel cap O-ring was deteriorated, with rust and corrosion present below the level of the O-ring. The aircraft is parked outside on the ramp. Heavy periods of rainfall occurred during the week prior to the accident flight. An annual inspection was completed on the aircraft 1 month and 3 flight hours prior to the accident.

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

Fuel system water contamination due to the failure of both pilots to purge all water from the fuel system prior to departure. Contributing factors were: failure of the mechanic conducting the recent annual inspection to identify and replace a deteriorated fuel cap O-ring.

Full narrative available

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