NTSB Identification: ANC97LA091
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 26, 1997 in CHUGIAK, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N1386A
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A flight instructor (CFI) was providing a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) to the owner of a tailwheel equipped airplane. The airplane's last annual inspection had lapsed, and the owner's BFR was not current. The owner filled the airplane's fuel tanks from a personally owned fuel tank that contained a mixture of 25 percent aviation fuel and 75 percent automotive fuel. The owner said he drained the airplane's fuel tanks before the flight, and did not notice any contamination. An engine run-up was completed without any deficiencies, and the fuel selector was positioned to the left tank. After takeoff, about 400 feet above the ground, the engine began to lose power and run rough. The owner selected an emergency landing area in an area of small trees and brush. The airplane collided with several trees, and received damage to the fuselage and wings. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed water in the carburetor and the left wing fuel tank. An analysis of fuel from the owner's fuel tank failed the specifications for aviation gasoline.

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

water contamination in the fuel, the second pilot's inadequate preflight/preparation to ensure all water was drained from the airplane fuel tanks, and inadequate supervision by the first pilot (CFI). A factor relating to the accident was: the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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