NTSB Identification: LAX01LA287.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 22, 2001 in Murrietta, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/28/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 150M, registration: N63405
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the operator who inspected the airplane and interviewed the instructor, the airplane was topped off with 13.4 gallons of aviation gasoline and placed in the maintenance shop just prior to the flight. The airplane received new tires and was released from the shop. No other maintenance was performed. The airplane departed at 1200 with full fuel tanks, which was 22.5 gallons of useable fuel. The instructor had stated that shortly after takeoff, about 1,000 feet, there was a "popping" sound from the engine followed by a loss of engine power. He repositioned the mixture and throttle controls, but with no effect. He stated that he pitched the airplane to attain best glide speed and initiated a forced landing procedure. The airplane landed in rough terrain and was nosed over. The entire back portion of the muffler was open. There was evidence of sooting and discoloration of the firewall directly behind the left muffler. The fuel input line leading from the gascolator to the carburetor was positioned between the aft end of the left muffler and the firewall. It was approximately 3 inches away from the open end of the muffler and was heated substantially when the back end of the muffler blew off. The heat most likely caused the fuel in the line to vaporize, resulting in vapor lock. The lack of altitude and time did not allow the engine to re-fire after the fuel in the line cooled off.

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

The failure of the muffler assembly causing a fuel line to overheat, resulting in vapor lock, and a subsequent engine failure followed by an emergency landing in rough terrain.

Full narrative available

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