On October 11, 1994, at 1815 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 140, N2450V, owned and piloted by Douglas Freeman, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a swamp near the Farmington Airport, Farmington, Maine. The pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated he departed from the private grass strip in Farmington, Maine, and flew to another airstrip. After one landing and takeoff, the pilot flew back to the original departure airstrip. Arriving over the Farmington Airstrip at 3,500 feet above mean sea level (msl), he performed a simulated forced landing. He applied carburetor heat, reduced the throttle to 1,000 RPM, and completed a successful low power landing to the airstrip. He further stated:

"...after landing I back taxied and tookoff to the north. On climbout at 250 feet AGL [above ground level], the engine quit. I tried changing fuel selector valve, pulled carb heat, and primed engine. The engine surged briefly and quit. The prop stopped. I picked a landing spot straight ahead and made a controlled landing into a swampy area..."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector's report, the pilot reported while climbing out, at approximately 250 feet, the engine sputtered and lost power. The pilot switched fuel tank selection from the right to the left, pumped the engine fuel primer and added carburetor heat.

The FAA report further stated:

"...The reporting inspector found normal ignition, compression and the fuel system was intact except for the gascolator bowl which was unseated. The gascolator had been pushed into the firewall on impact. The engine was subsequently started and ran normally except for the vibration caused by the bent prop..."

Examination of the airplane revealed that the left fuel tank contained about 6 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel and the right fuel tank contained 3 1/2 gallons of automobile fuel. The airplane had been issued a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) by the FAA, for the use of automobile fuel in place of aviation fuel.

According to the Cessna Operations Manual for the Cessna 120/140, the fuel system consists of a 12 1/2 gallon fuel tank in each wing. In the Operations Manual it stated, "Set fuel tank selector to fullest tank. (Do not takeoff on less than 1/4 tank)."

In the Cessna Pilot Safety and Warning Supplements it stated:

"Never use automotive gasoline in an airplane unless the engine and airplane fuel system are specifically certified and approved for automotive gasoline use. The additives used in the production of automotive gasoline vary widely throughout the petroleum industry and may have deteriorating effects on airplane fuel system components. The qualities of automotive gasoline can induce vapor lock, increase the probability of carburetor icing and cause internal engine problems stemming from detonation."

In the Continental Aircraft Engine Service Bulletin, M87-12, Revision 1, dated November 20, 1987, it stated, "...All TCM aircraft engines are to be operated only on aviation grade fuel. If the specified fuel is not available, the next higher grade fuel must be used...Warning...Automotive fuels are NOT TCM APPROVED for use in aircraft engines...."

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