NTSB Identification: MIA07LA129.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 01, 2007 in Andersonville, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2008
Aircraft: Piper J3C-65, registration: N5721N
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to an FAA inspector, he interviewed several witnesses who said that the pilot was giving airplane rides from his private grass airstrip. On the fifth and final airplane ride, during initial climb after takeoff, the engine stopped. The inspector said that witnesses told him that they saw the airplane turn about 180 degrees toward the departure runway, but it descended quickly and impacted the ground in a level attitude. The on scene examination revealed the presence of fuel, and no obvious anomalies. An examination was performed by the NTSB, and a representative from the engine manufacturer. During the examination, crash related damaged parts were replaced, and a club propeller was fitted. The engine was then test run. Initially, when fuel was added, the fuel poured from the carburetor, consistent with the needle valve having been stuck in the open position due to an obstruction. After tapping on the wall of the carburetor, the obstruction was cleared, and fuel stopped flowing out of the carburetor. The test run was then completed without further anomalies. A teardown examination of the carburetor revealed debris within the carburetor float bowl large enough to block the needle valve, or fuel metering orifice.

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

The pilot's improper decision to make a 180-degree turn at low altitude to return to the departure runway following a loss of engine power during takeoff-initial climb. A factor in the accident was contamination in the carburetor.

Full narrative available

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