NTSB Identification: CEN10FA122
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 17, 2010 in Amarillo, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/06/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-30, registration: N8501Y
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane had just departed when, about one minute after takeoff, it made a turn as if to return to the airport at about 900 feet above ground level. A witness observed the airplane flying low before it impacted a warehouse building. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed water in the fuel recovered from both the left and right engine fuel systems. Both auxiliary fuel tank caps could be removed without releasing the expansion tab and the left main fuel tank cap could be removed without unscrewing the release mechanism, indicative that the caps were loose and worn. The airplane had been exposed to accumulating snow the week prior to the accident. An examination of the airplane's remaining systems revealed no anomalies.

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

The pilot’s failure to detect water contaminated fuel, which resulted in a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the accident were the worn and loose fuel caps, which allowed water to enter the fuel tanks.

Full narrative available

Index for Feb2010 | Index of months