NTSB Identification: NYC02LA140.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 17, 2002 in Bardstown, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Boeing Stearman A75N1, registration: N64567
Injuries: 2 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 reported he performed a thorough preflight inspection of the airplane and after a 1 hour flight, he landed to refuel. He added 30.5 gallons of aviation gasoline to the airplane and performed another preflight inspection, which included draining fuel from the "belly strainer." The pilot performed an engine run-up and a normal takeoff; however, shortly after takeoff, when the airplane was about 300 to 400 feet above the ground, the engine began to lose power. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field. However, the airplane impacted the ground left wing down and bounced. The engine separated from the fuselage and the airplane came to rest on the main landing gear. Examination of the engine revealed debris in the oil screen, which consisted of large carbon and rust deposits. The spark plugs all showed signs of fouling due to carbon deposits and three of the outboard spark plug electrode gaps were "closed" due to debris lodged in the head of the plugs. There was a small amount of fuel in the carburetor. The fuel was "milky white" in color. The belly drain was sumped, and the fuel was found to contain "large" amounts of water. It was also noted that the wing tank drains were wired closed and could not be sampled.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in fuel contamination and subsequent loss of engine power. A factor in this accident was that the wing tank fuel drains were wire closed and could not be used.

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