NTSB Identification: LAX97LA129.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 21, 1997 in NOGALES, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/14/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 150L, registration: N21993
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 pilot said that the power dropped, then returned to cruise rpm. About 30 to 40 seconds later the engine lost power again, regained power, and then dropped again. This cycle was repeated seven or eight times, with the pilot performing the emergency checklist procedures. The engine then stopped completely and the pilot made a forced landing during which the aircraft collided with trees. An engine run-up was conducted by an FAA inspector with no mechanical abnormalities found. The FAA inspector stated that a fuel sample was retrieved from the aircraft fuel tanks at the accident scene and appeared to be contaminated. As viewed, the sample had some water and debris in it, and was yellow in color. Particles of rust were also noted in the sample. The inspector reviewed the maintenance records and found that the owner had obtained an STC to use auto fuel in this aircraft. He reported that 'the sample smelled like a mixture of auto fuel and aviation fuel. . .[and]. . .neither of these fuels are yellow in color.' The aircraft owner/pilot stated to the inspector that he has a barrel of fuel at his hangar from which he refuels the aircraft.

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

Loss of engine power due to fuel contamination resulting from the pilot's inadequate fuel storage and filtering procedures.

Full narrative available

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