NTSB Identification: NYC00LA088.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, March 07, 2000 in CONESUS, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-22, registration: N9040D
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 was repositioning the airplane from his private airstrip, to an airport about 10 nautical miles to the south, at night. The pilot had flown 1.3 daytime hours in the previous 90 days, all on the day before the accident; however, the accident airplane had not been flown in 6 months. The airplane's left wing was refueled with 8-10 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The airplane was preflighted, and fuel samples were taken from both tanks, the strainer, and both wings. No water or sediments were observed. The pilot completed an engine run-up, then took off. During the climb, about 400 feet above the ground, the engine quit. The pilot switched the fuel selector from the left tank to the right tank. The engine began to produce power again, but not full power. The pilot opted to land at a nearby unlighted airstrip. During the approach, while on base leg, and with the engine still running, the airplane impacted a tree. The pilot stated: 'I was checking the engine gauges and wasn't watching my altitude closely enough.' Post-flight inspection of the airplane revealed no mechanical malfunctions. However, corrosion and severe pitting were found inside the fuel bowl.

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

The contamination of the aircraft's fuel. Contributing factors were the pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude and his diversion of attention during the base turn, dark night conditions, and the tree.

Full narrative available

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