NTSB Identification: MIA02LA175.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 29, 2002 in Irvington, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N2963R
Injuries: 1 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.

After landing following a 2 hour 55 minute flight the fuel tanks were filled; a preflight inspection of the aircraft using a checklist revealed no contaminants when checking the fuel. After an engine run up using a checklist,10-degrees of flaps was selected and he departed. After a positive rate of climb, the gear selector switch was placed in the up position; however, the gear remained down due to the automatic gear extender system installed on the aircraft which lowers the gear automatically when the airspeed is below a certain value. Around 100 feet the engine suddenly quit. The pilot descended to maintain airspeed, and collided with trees. The next thing he remembers is being in the airplane on the ground. According to the FAA inspector who examined the accident site, the airplane impacted a dirt road with the landing gear extended and the left wing of the airplane separated after colliding with a light pole 6-7 feet above ground level. The airplane spun around and came to rest upright. Examination of engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity; compression and suction were noted in all cylinders. The magnetos sparked to all plugs of all cylinders, and the engine driven fuel pump, and vacuum pump were operational. The servo fuel injector flowed 45.8 pph at full throttle; the service limits are 82.9 to 94.0 pph. Disassembly revealed white solid contaminates, water droplets, and rust inside of the fuel regulator, fuel diaphragm, mixture control unit, and the fuel strainer and housing. The fuel diaphragm stem was checked, and was 0.008 inch full deflection. The servo injector had the original Lycoming lead seal, and was manufactured, April 28, 1969. A review of the engine maintenance records show that the servo injector was not overhauled since the date of manufacture. Service Bulletin PRS-97 released by Precision Airmotive Corp. on Nov. 11, 1991, establishes overhaul and calibration of the fuel injection system to be done every 10 years; compliance not required by FAA.

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

The loss of engine power due to internal contamination (rust and water) of the servo fuel injector resulting in it flowing approximately half of the required fuel flow at full throttle. A contributing factor was the unsuitable terrain encountered by the pilot during the forced landing.

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