NTSB Identification: ANC06LA079.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 23, 2006 in Sarasota, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Rockwell 112TCA, registration: N1052D
Injuries: 1 Minor,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.
The private certificated pilot reported that he preflighted his airplane, and sumped the fuel tanks in preparation for the Title 14, CFR Part 91 flight. He said he found some debris, but continued to sump the tanks until he obtained clean fuel. He looked in the fuel tanks, confirmed the presence of fuel, and rocked the wings and heard a sloshing sound from each tank. The pilot reported that the fuel totalizer indicated 10 gallons of fuel in the tanks. After takeoff, he made a left turn, and the engine began to run rough. He requested a return to the departure airport, stating that he had a fuel problem. He was unable to reach the airport, and ditched the airplane with the landing gear up, about 50 yards from shore. The pilot said that the engine continued to run roughly during the emergency descent, and was running upon contact with the water. He indicated that he believed the cause of accident was debris in the fuel tank, picked up during the turn. He also said that it was "entirely possible that this circumstance could have been avoided if there was a greater quantity of fuel in the tank." After the airplane was recovered, an FAA inspector examined the airplane and found a small amount of fuel that sloshed at the bottom of the tanks. He pulled the fuel sump drain, but no fuel discharge was observed. The inspector indicated that his review of air traffic control tapes revealed that the pilot requested to land due to fuel starvation. The inspector also reported that in his conversations with the pilot, the pilot told him that the estimate of fuel in the tanks was based on the fuel totalizer indication. The pilot did not attempt to measure the fuel, but opened the fuel caps to see some fuel sloshing in the tanks.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection of the fuel system, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power during cruise flight, and a subsequent ditching. Factors contributing to the accident were a low fuel level at departure, and fuel contamination. Full narrative available
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