NTSB Identification: WPR10LA083
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 14, 2009 in San Jose, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/15/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-160, registration: N9547D
Injuries: 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 airplane climbed to about 600 feet above ground level after takeoff and the engine experienced a loss of power. With unfavorable conditions ahead, the pilot opted to turn 180 degrees back toward the airport. The airplane touched down on wet, muddy grass and began to roll onto the asphalt. The airplane nosed over after encountering the lip of the asphalt. A mechanic took fuel samples from the fuel tanks as part of a postimpact inspection. Samples of fuel from the left wing tank, which was selected at the time of the accident, revealed that there was a significant amount of water present. The mechanic opined that the left tank's lower tank panel had possibly bowed up, causing water to be trapped around the sides of the tank. The pilot reported that he did drain fuel from the tanks prior to departure, but that he should have also shaken the wings to induce the trapped water to move down to the sump drains, then rechecked the fuel for contamination.

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

A total loss of engine power due to water contamination in the fuel system as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection.

Full narrative available

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