NTSB Identification: SEA93LA152.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 12, 1993 in ARLINGTON, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/1994
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260, registration: N3774W
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.

THE PILOT DEPARTED LARAMIE, WYOMING, AFTER TOPPING OFF THE AIRCRAFT FUEL TANKS. WHILE AT CRUISE ALTITUDE, THE ENGINE LOST POWER. THE PILOT MADE A FORCED LANDING AND REPORTED THAT HE 'WAS A LITTLE HIGH CAUSING INITIAL IMPACT AT NEAR STALL SPEED, REMOVING THE GEAR.' SUBSEQUENT EXAMINATION OF THE FUEL SYSTEM REVEALED CONTAMINATED WATER IN THE FUEL SELECTOR BOWL WITH THE DRAIN LEVER RUSTED IN THE 'CLOSED' POSITION. ADDITIONALLY, THE FUEL PUMP FILTER WAS COVERED WITH A RUST COLORED SUBSTANCE. AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE 77-12-01 REQUIRES THAT THE FUEL SELECTOR VALVE BE CHECKED EVERY 50 HOURS SO AS TO 'PREVENT A FUEL SYSTEM MALFUNCTION AND A POSSIBLE POWER INTERRUPTION.' THE LAST RECORD OF SUCH AN INSPECTION ON THE AIRCRAFT WAS CONDUCTED 64 HOURS PREVIOUSLY (15 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT). LIKEWISE, THE PIPER CHEROKEE SIX SERVICE MANUAL DESCRIBES PROCEDURES FOR REMOVING, DRAINING, AND CLEANING THE FUEL SELECTOR STRAINER BOWL AT LEAST EVERY 90 DAYS.

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

FUEL CONTAMINATION, DIRECTIVES NOT FOLLOWED BY THE PILOT IN COMMAND, AND HIS PREMATURE FLARE.

Full narrative available

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