NTSB Identification: LAX97LA193.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 25, 1997 in ROTA, Northern Mariana Islands
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N53079
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 airborne for 30 minutes cruising at 4,500 feet msl when it lost fuel pressure and engine power, and ditched in the ocean. The aircraft was not recovered. The pilot reported they departed with 30 plus gallons of automotive gasoline for the 130 mile trip. According to the engine manufacturer this engine was designed for a minimum of 91/96 aviation grade fuel. There are FAA Supplemental Type Certificates for the use of automobile gasoline in this engine with requirements to verify the specifications of the auto gas being used, and information about the increased tendency for carburetor icing and vapor generation with its use. The aircraft records were obtained from FAA Oklahoma City, and no record of approval for the use of automobile gasoline via FAA form 337 was found.

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

the unauthorized use of automobile gasoline which led to the loss of engine power due to fuel vapor generation.

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