NTSB Identification: CEN10FA465
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 23, 2010 in Ludington, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA U206F, registration: N82531
Injuries: 4 Fatal,1 Minor.

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 pilot reported that he was crossing Lake Michigan at 10,000 feet above mean sea level when the engine lost power. He was near the mid-point (about 24 miles from the shoreline) of the lake with a 40-knot headwind, so he turned around to return to shore. He attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful. The pilot ditched the airplane about 5 miles from shore and it quickly sank. Postaccident inspection of the airplane revealed that the firewall fuel strainer gasket did not provide a complete seal between the fuel screen and the fuel strainer's upper body. A portion of the gasket was positioned over the exit port, which created a gap. This allowed debris in the fuel to migrate to the engine's fuel inlet filter screen in the fuel metering assembly. The inspection of the fuel inlet filter screen revealed that it was partially obstructed with debris. The orifice of the fuel inlet passage contained the same debris that obstructed the flow of fuel through the orifice to the fuel screen. The airplane had undergone an annual maintenance inspection about 7.5 hours prior to the accident. The mechanic, who had an inspection authorization, reported that he did not inspect the gasket on the firewall fuel strainer, nor did he remove and inspect the fuel inlet filter screen as required by the manufacturer's service manual. The debris was composed of materials similar to wood chips, sawdust, paint, varnish, cloth, glass fibers, metal shavings, sand, and soil. The source of the contaminants was not determined. The postaccident inspection revealed no other preexisting airframe anomalies. The engine was run on a test stand and the engine produced the rated horsepower. The airplane's owner's manual indicated that the glide distance for an airplane at 10,000 feet above the water's surface was 15 miles.

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

The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of accumulated debris in the fuel system from an undetermined source. Also causal was the inadequate annual maintenance inspection that did not include inspection of the firewall fuel strainer and the fuel inlet screen.

Full narrative available

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