NTSB Identification: LAX07LA209.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 08, 2007 in Tracy, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N95038
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 student pilot experienced a partial loss of engine power while cruising at 5,500 feet mean sea level. The engine's rpm surged, became "very erratic," and partial power was lost. Despite application of carburetor heat and troubleshooting for causative factors, the pilot was unable to restore engine power. He made a precautionary landing at a nearby airport. With a faster than normal approach speed, the airplane touched down hard and bounced, and the student pilot lost directional control. Thereafter, the airplane veered off the runway and nosed over in a tomato field about 50 yards beyond the side of the runway. The operator maintained the airplane on a program of annual and 100-hour inspections. The last 100-inspection was performed about 35 hours prior to the accident flight. The post accident examination of the airplane's logbooks revealed record keeping deficiencies, and an examination of the engine revealed inadequate maintenance. For example, recording errors relating to the airplane's operating time were noted in the logbooks, and compliance entries for airworthiness directives were omitted. An examination of the engine revealed one spark plug was only finger tight, a cylinder had signs of excessive oil on its spark plugs, and it appeared not to be firing. All four bottom plugs had excessive carbon buildup and were fouled, and the intake air filter was dirty and partially plugged. No sole cause for the loss of engine power was ascertained.

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

The pilot's improper recovery from a bounced landing and his failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll. Contributing to the accident were the operator's inadequate engine maintenance, which precipitated the loss of engine power, the pilot's excessive approach airspeed and the crop.

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