FTW95LA072
FTW95LA072

On December 24, 1994, at 1636 central standard time, a Piper PA-12, N2820M, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near La Porte, Texas. The private pilot sustained minor injuries, while his two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight.

According to the pilot, the airplane departed the La Porte Municipal Airport (T41) en route to Baytown, Texas. While in cruise flight at approximately 800 to 1,000 feet above the the ship channel, the engine lost power without warning. The pilot added that he elected to land on a narrow dirt road on a levee approximately 4 miles northeast of the airport. During the landing roll, the main wheels sank into soft mud, the landing gear collapsed, and the airplane nosed over to the inverted position.

The 1946 model airplane had accumulated 54 hours since the airplane was completely rebuilt by the pilot. Prior to the flight, the pilot stated that he found fuel leaking from around the glass bowl in the gascolator/strainer assembly. He further stated that he reseated the glass bowl and secured it with safety wire.

The pilot, who is also an FAA certificated airframe/powerplant mechanic with inspection authority, performed a post accident examination of the wreckage at the accident site. Examination of the gascolator assembly, part number 750-268, revealed a fracture at the "T" fitting where the nut is threaded upwards to hold the bowl in place. The glass gascolator was not recovered, but the safety wire remained in place.

The pilot suspects that the glass bowl might have also cracked during installation and fallen off during flight resulting in the fuel starvation of the engine.

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