NTSB Identification: NYC97LA150.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 22, 1997 in FITCHBURG, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/21/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 172E, registration: N3553S
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 performed a preflight inspection and observed the fuel tanks were half empty. After an uneventful local flight, the pilot departed for another flight. During the initial climb after takeoff, about 75 feet, the engine lost power. The pilot performed a forced landing, and the airplane came to rest left wing low. Examination of the wreckage revealed 7 gallons of uncontaminated automotive gasoline in the left fuel tank, and no fuel in the right tank. The fuel selector valve was found in the 'both' position, and the left fuel cap was found open. The pilot could not recall if he secured it properly during his preflight inspection. Additionally, the engine was test run satisfactorily using fuel that was drained from the airplane. The airplane's total fuel capacity was 39 gallons, of which 36 was usable. It was last refueled 8 months prior to the accident with 28.2 gallons of automotive gasoline. The airplane had been flown for 3/10 of an hour on a ferry flight for an annual inspection, 4 days prior to the accident, and had accumulated 1.38 hours since the annual inspection. According to the owner's manual, fuel consumption in cruise flight at 75% power at 2,500 feet was 8.5 gallons per hour.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Full narrative available
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