NTSB Identification: NYC05LA111.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 01, 2005 in West Carrollton, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N3992R
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 pilot flew to the airport 2 days prior to the accident, and parked the airplane. On the day of the accident the airplane was fueled with 33.1 gallons fuel, and the pilot conducted a "thorough" preflight inspection, which included taking fuel samples from the sump drains. Upon takeoff from runway 26, the pilot smelled smoke, but elected to not abort the takeoff due to insufficient remaining runway. The airplane climbed to an altitude of 500 feet, when the pilot felt that "things just weren't right," and he elected to return to the airport. As he banked the airplane to the left, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot then performed a forced landing, where the airplane struck trees, and subsequently impacted the ground. Prior to the accident, a witness observed the pilot conduct a high-speed taxi down the runway, exiting the runway at the midfield point, and begin to taxi towards the run-up area. Approximately 5 minutes later, the witness heard the airplane's engine sputter as it passed mid-field. The airplane was already airborne, and it seemed like it was having trouble climbing over the river levy, located at the departure end of the runway. Examination of the airplane revealed that the left and right wing fuel filler openings displayed "heavy" corrosion. Their respective filler cap gaskets were worn and flattened, and did not form an effective seal. The engine was removed from the airframe and placed on a test stand. The engine was started, and ran with no abnormalities noted. A fuel sample device was found in the wreckage. Examination of the fuel sample device revealed loose sediment and debris in the bottom of the cup, and it smelled of must, which was consistent with lack of recent use. Review of recorded weather that about .35 inches of rain fell on the day prior to the accident, while the airplane was parked outside.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection that resulted in fuel contamination and a subsequent loss of engine power. A factor related to the accident was the deteriorated fuel cap seals.

Full narrative available

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