NTSB Identification: FTW97LA344.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 11, 1997 in HORSESHOE BEND, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/1998
Aircraft: Stinson 108-3, registration: N800C
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 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.

After refueling an empty right fuel tank, the airplane commenced a takeoff roll, and about 400 feet down the runway, the engine 'quit', and the takeoff was aborted. Afterwards, the pilot made several engine run ups and high speed taxis to diagnose the problem. With no problems detected, he attempted another takeoff, and climbing through 75 feet AGL the 'engine lost power' again. The pilot made a 'hard left turn' to avoid electrical wires, trees, and houses. The airplane then impacted down sloping terrain. Fuel samples were found to be clear and free of contaminants. After the accident, the pilot said that it was common to find mud wasp nests throughout the airframe, and that the right fuel tank had been empty for 3-4 weeks. He stated that he thinks that the fuel vent was blocked by a mud wasp nest. This would result in a vacuum effect because of the unoccupied space between the fuel and top of the tank. The vacuum effect would prevent fuel from entering the fuel lines and result in fuel starvation to the engine.

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

Fuel starvation due to partially blocked fuel vents. Factors were: the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection of the airplane; the pilot's improper decision to continue operation of the airplane with known deficiencies; and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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