NTSB Identification: ATL89FA214.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40822.
Accident occurred Sunday, September 17, 1989 in GORDON, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/02/1990
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-180, registration: N7503J
Injuries: 3 Fatal,1 Minor.

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 COLLIDED WITH A SPEED LIMIT SIGN DURING A FORCED LDG ON A HWY. THE AIRPLANE SUBSEQUENTLY NOSED OVER AND IMPACTED THE TERRAIN INVERTED. PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT, THE PILOT HAD ADVISED ATC HE WAS EXPERIENCING FUEL PRESSURE PROBLEMS AND HAD A ROUGH RUNNING ENGINE. POST-CRASH EXAMINATION OF THE WRECKAGE REVEALED THAT THE GASCOLATOR BOWL WAS LOOSE, EVEN THOUGH THE BAIL-WIRE RETAINING NUT WAS SAFETIED IN THE MAXIMUM-TIGHT POSITION. SUBSEQUENT INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT THE BAIL-WIRE DID NOT CONFORM TO THE SHAPE AND DIMENSIONS SPECIFIED BY PIPER AIRCRAFT. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE BOWL COULD BE TIGHTENED DOWN ONLY IF THE RETAINING NUT WAS TIGHTENED WITH THE BAIL WIRE IN AN OFF-CENTER POSITION. THE AIRPLANE HAD UNDERGONE AN ANNUAL INSPECTION ABOUT 1 OPERATING HOUR BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. THE MECHANIC WHO PERFORMED THE INSPECTION REPORTED THAT THE GASCOLATOR WAS REMOVED AND CLEANED DURING THE INSPECTION.

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

THE IMPROPER INSTALLATION OF THE FUEL GASCOLATOR BOWL BY MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL, WHICH RESULTED IN FUEL LEAKAGE AND A LOSS OF FUEL PRESSURE TO THE ENGINE.

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