NTSB Identification: LAX05LA070.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 16, 2005 in Pauma Valley, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 150H, registration: N22562
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.

The airplane collided with trees during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The student pilot stated that during cruise flight at 6,500 feet mean sea level, the engine began sputtering and finally ceased operating altogether 30 seconds later. During the descent for a forced landing, the pilot attempted to restart the engine four times. While setting up to land on an airstrip, the pilot performed 360-degree turns to lose altitude. After coming out of the second turn, the airplane was too low to make the airstrip so the pilot landed the airplane in an orchard. The airplane had 1/2 tank of fuel in the left wing and the right wing fuel tank was full. Airplane recovery personnel at the accident site drained approximately 2 gallons of fuel from the airplane when they observed the fuel flow to stop coming from the drain. Upon removing the fuel caps, the drain stream returned to full flow. Post accident test-run of the engine did not reveal any operational anomalies. The fuel vent line that extends from the bottom of the left fuel tank and the cross vent line between the right and left fuel tanks were tested using air flow; neither line was obstructed. The fuel caps were tested on a Cessna fuel tank and a vacuum suction was applied; neither fuel cap vented. Examination of the fuel caps did not reveal why they did not vent. The fuel caps provide secondary venting; if the fuel vent line also becomes plugged, no fuel venting is possible. The airplane was recovered a few days following the accident and moved to a storage facility over unimproved dirt roads where the engine test-run and vent system examination took place. Any obstruction in the vent system could have been dislodged during the recovery and transport of the wreckage. According to the operator, the fuel cap and wing vents were checked during the last 100-hour inspection on the airplane.

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

the loss of engine power due to an undetermined obstruction in the vent system for the fuel tanks and failure of the fuel caps to vent.

Full narrative available

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