NTSB Identification: ATL04CA179.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 11, 2004 in Inverness, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N35FD
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that he measured the fuel in each fuel tank with a marked stick and determined that "7.75 gallons of usable fuel" was onboard. He stated that he checked the fuel from each wing fuel tank sump as well from the fuel strainer drain under the fuselage, and did not detect any water or contaminants. He stated that he performed a satisfactory run-up and a "normal take-off." The pilot stated that at approximately 300 feet above the ground, the engine lost partial power. He stated that he considered turning the airplane back toward the airport, but elected to continue straight and land on the tops of some tall trees. The airplane subsequently fell to the ground.
Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane came to rest nose down on the right wing 1/4 mile beyond and 500 feet to the right of the departure end of runway 1. Examination of the wreckage revealed that that the tops of both wings were buckled and the left wing was displaced aft. The empennage was dented and bent. Post-accident examination of the fuel system revealed that six ounces of water was recovered from the carburetor fuel inlet line. According to the Cessna 152 Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), the maximum fuel capacity is 26 gallons. It states, "the fuel tanks should be filled after each flight to prevent condensation." The weather reporting station at Ocala, Florida, 22 nautical miles northeast of Inverness, Florida, reported the temperature-dew point spread on September 11, 2004 at 0853 to be 26-24 degrees Celsius and at 0943 to be 28-24 degrees Celsius. The pilot further stated that his airplane had been tied down outside without a cover and had not been flown for over thirty days.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, and his failure to detect the presence of water in the fuel system, which resulted in a loss of engine power and subsequent collision with trees and terrain.

Full narrative available

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