NTSB Identification: IAD03LA025.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 05, 2003 in Morristown, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Mooney 20J, registration: N1074Z
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.

Shortly after departure, at an altitude of about 700 feet, the airplane's engine sputtered, then lost power. The pilot initiated a right turn back toward the airport, and attempted a forced landing to a taxiway. During the landing, the airplane's left main landing gear collapsed and the left wing hit the ground. Examination of the airplane's fuel tanks shortly after the accident revealed they were full; however, only a trace of fuel was observed in the fuel filter bowl. The fuel tanks were sumped, and fuel flow was observed to be lower than normal, although no water or ice was observed. After the airplane was thawed in a hangar overnight, fuel flow increased. When the engine was subsequently test run on the airframe, it started without hesitation and ran continuously at various power settings. The airplane had been parked outside during the night prior to the accident flight. The low temperature that night was 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dewpoint was 28 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, light snow and mist were reported throughout the night. According to the pilot, he cleared a significant amount of ice from the airplane during the preflight inspection. Temperature at the time of the accident was 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

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

Ice in the fuel system, which resulted in restricted fuel flow and a subsequent loss of engine power.

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