NTSB Identification: NYC03LA028.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 04, 2002 in Dalton, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: Ercoupe 415-CD, registration: C-FXJK
Injuries: 1 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.
While in cruise flight, on the third and final leg of a trip, the engine lost all power. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field, and the airplane struck uneven terrain. Examination of the engine revealed a frozen liquid in the gascolator, consistent with water. The pilot reported that prior to the trip, he fueled the airplane with "an old batch" of 80/87 aviation gasoline. The airplane then remained parked in a leaky hangar for approximately 1 month. Before his initial departure, the pilot sumped both wing tanks and the engine sump, but did not observe any water. However, the pilot added that the temperature was very cold, and he believed that water in the fuel tanks had frozen and risen to the surface. During the second leg of the trip, the pilot stopped at an airport and added 5 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline. He also sumped the tanks after that fueling, and did not observe any water. The reported temperature near the accident site was 22 degrees F.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection of the aircraft, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel contamination. A factor was the cold air temperature.
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