NTSB Identification: WPR13FA141
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 09, 2013 in Woodinville, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/08/2014
Aircraft: MAULE M5, registration: N17PR
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 passenger reported that he could not remember if the pilot checked the fuel before the flight, but he remembered that, during the engine start, the engine turned over several times before it started. About 30 minutes into the flight, the engine started to sputter, and then it stopped; the pilot was unable to restart the engine, and the airplane began to lose altitude. The passenger recalled that he observed the stall warning light illuminate and that the airplane was in a turn, but he did not recall the impact.

One witness reported that he observed the airplane circle and that it appeared very low. Another witness reported hearing a "pop" sound and then a "puff" or a "sputter" and then seeing that the propeller had stopped. A third witness reported that he saw the airplane in a hard banking turn and that he could tell that the airplane "was going down." The airplane impacted a single-family residence about 16 nautical miles northeast of the departure airport.

GPS data revealed that the airplane made several course heading changes at varying altitudes and airspeeds during the flight. During the last 16 seconds of the flight track, the airplane turned left, which was likely indicative of the pilot attempting to make a forced landing to a nearby pond. The last GPS data were recorded when the airplane was at an altitude of 650 feet mean sea level and a groundspeed of 40 knots.

The airplane's previous flight occurred 102 days before the accident. During this period of inactivity, the airplane remained parked outside on an airport ramp exposed to inclement weather conditions conducive to the formation of condensation in the airplane's partially filled fuel tanks. No records were found indicating that the airplane had been refueled before the accident flight. Fuel was recovered from the airplane at the accident site. Analysis of a fuel sample revealed the presence of water. The fuel contamination likely resulted in the loss of engine power and the pilot's inability to restart the engine after the power loss. The pilot likely failed to maintain adequate airspeed following the loss of engine power. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed following a total loss of engine power due to fuel contamination, which resulted in a stall/spin and subsequent impact with terrain.

Full narrative available

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