NTSB Identification: WPR12LA263
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 12, 2012 in Winnett, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/12/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA A185F, registration: CG-ZVF
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 pilot reported that he recently purchased the accident airplane, which had previously been in storage. Before he departed, the airplane’s fuel tanks were filled and a preflight check revealed no contaminants. During the night flight, the pilot switched fuel tanks, and the engine sputtered and lost power. He attempted to restart the engine while descending toward a highway for a forced landing. After the pilot switched the fuel selector back to the original fuel tank, the engine restarted; however, moments later the airplane struck a transmission wire, which the pilot did not see until the last minute because of the dark lighting conditions. The pilot made a forced landing in a field. The pilot attributed the engine sputtering to undetected water in the fuel system; however, a postaccident examination of the fuel system revealed no contaminants, and operation of the engine showed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot added that he had “recently lost his wife and had not been thinking correctly.” The pilot did not have a current flight review or medical certificate.

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

A momentary loss of engine power, which led to an emergency descent at night during which the airplane collided with a wire. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined because postaccident examination and operation did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Full narrative available

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