NTSB Identification: FTW98FA024.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 20, 1997 in DEMING, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 150M, registration: N6206K
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane had been both hangared and kept outdoors since the summer of 1995. In May 1997, the Deming City Administrator observed the pilot transferring fuel from the sump of a 10,000 gallon fuel storage tank into a fuel truck. The pilot told him that he was bypassing the tank's sump to meet the fixed base operator (FBO) needs (the pilot was also the FBO manager). Approximately one month before the accident, the pilot told an FBO employee that he had drained the airplane's fuel tanks and asked that they be refilled. The employee said he put 14 to 15 gallons of fuel in the airplane (fuel capacity is 26 gallons). On the day of the accident, the pilot found the airplane's battery dead. He hand started the engine and departed for California. The alternator needs at least 3 volts current to energize its magnetic field for electrical power generation. The airplane was last seen flying west at an estimated altitude of 400 to 500 feet agl. The wreckage was found the next day in soft, sandy soil on level terrain, covered by 2 to 5 feet tall brush. Postcrash examination revealed that the flaps were up, and the gascolator and fuel tanks contained a fluid other than aviation fuel.

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

The loss of engine power due to fuel contamination. Contributing was unsuitable terrain consisting of high vegetation and sand.

Full narrative available

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