NTSB Identification: DEN08LA041
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 15, 2007 in Phillipsburg, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/24/2008
Aircraft: Mooney M20C, registration: N63LH
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 was in cruise flight in VFR conditions at 8,500 feet msl when there was a "sudden loss of engine rpm." Vectors were given to the nearest airport approximately 8 miles away. Unable to glide to the airport, the pilot attempted to land in a snow-covered field using what little moonlight there was available. The airplane collided with trees and terrain and caught fire. Post-accident examination revealed no engine anomalies. Disassembly of the carburetor revealed a brown gooey substance in the inlet fuel screen and float valve, restricting movement of the latter. FTIR analysis of the substance by NTSB's materials laboratory revealed it to be "most likely an inorganic compound." EDS analysis of the various samples revealed high peaks of carbon, while other samples had high peaks of sulfur, and still others high peaks of calcium silicon. The laboratory report noted that when aviation gasoline evaporates, various additives, such as anti-knock compounds, dyes, inhibitors and anti-icing compounds, remain in the form of a gum.

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

Total loss of engine power due to contamination of the carburetor, total blockage of the fuel inlet screen, and partial blockage of the fuel lines and fittings. Contributing to the accident were the dark night light conditions and the trees.

Full narrative available

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