NYC97LA100
NYC97LA100

On May 26, 1997, at 2028 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N6927W, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from the Martin State Airport, Baltimore, Maryland. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, for the personal flight which departed Martin State Airport, at 2028. No flight plan had been filed for the flight which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that he had performed a pre-flight inspection of the airplane which included draining the left and right fuel tanks, and engine sump prior to departure from the Bay Bridge Airport, Stevensville, Maryland. He then flew to Martin State Airport, where he added 10 gallons of 100 LL aviation grade gasoline to each tank. He departed Martin State and flew to Easton Airport where he performed take and landing practice, after which he returned to Martin State Airport.

In the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot stated:

"...1950 entered aircraft. Switched to left fuel tank. Received clearance martin ground control. Taxied to 'Juliet' runway 33...Switched to tower frequency received clearance to depart [runway] 33 VFR to W29. Completed mag check and pre-flight check including electric fuel pump - mixture full rich. Departed 33 climbed 400' [feet] + - when engine quit. Unable to restart. Completed 30 degree turn, landed on grass just past runway. Aircraft struck small drainage ditch and fence. Following morning I found water in engine sump."

An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the propeller and firewall were bent. Also, fence posts had penetrated the left fuel tank, the right inboard wing, and the nose wheel was bent rearward.

In a telephone interview, the pilot reported that prior to departure from Martin State Airport, he did not drain the tanks. He did visually inspect the tanks and switched the fuel selector from the right tank to the left tank. After the accident, the airplane was secured by emergency personnel at the airport who drained the fuel tanks. When he returned to the airplane, he found both fuel tanks empty. He then tried to drain the main sump and reported that all it contained was water, and no fuel. The pilot also added that the airplane was tied down outside at Stevensville, and the day prior to the accident it rained hard, all day. When asked about the fuel caps, the pilot reported there was no rust under them and the fit appeared normal.

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