NTSB Identification: ATL89LA215.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39816.
Accident occurred Sunday, September 17, 1989 in SEMMES, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/1991
Aircraft: AERONCA 7AC, registration: N83732
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 AN ANNUAL INSPECTION WAS COMPLETED, THE PILOT ELECTED TO REPLACE A FUEL CAP GASKET THAT HE HAD PREVIOUSLY ORDERED. DURING THE REPLACEMENT, HE NOTICED THAT THE NEW GASKET WAS NOT EXACTLY LIKE THE ORIGINAL, BUT HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE SATISFACTORY. HE THEN REFUELED THE AIRCRAFT AND MADE SEVERAL TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS. AFTER ABOUT A 30 MINUTE FLIGHT, A PASSENGER BOARDED THE AIRCRAFT AND THE PILOT TOOK OFF AGAIN. DURING THE INITIAL CLIMB AFTER TAKEOFF, THE ENGINE LOST POWER. THE PILOT MADE AN EMERGENCY LANDING, BUT WAS UNABLE TO STOP THE AIRCRAFT BEFORE IT HIT TREES. AFTER THE ACCIDENT, THE PILOT DISCOVERED THAT THE FUEL CAP VENT HAD BECOME BLOCKED BY THE NEW GASKET. ALSO, HE NOTED THAT DURING THE LANDING SEQUENCE, THE FUEL CAP WAS DISLODGED ENOUGH TO ALLOW AIR BACK IN THE TANK AND THE ENGINE BEGAN RUNNING AGAIN.

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

IMPROPER REPLACEMENT OF THE FUEL CAP GASKET BY THE PILOT, WHICH RESULTED IN A BLOCKED FUEL CAP VENT AND FUEL STARVATION. TREES IN THE EMERGENCY LANDING AREA CONTRIBUTED TO AIRCRAFT DAMAGE.

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