On June 28, 1997, at 1700 eastern daylight time, N39CC, a Cessna A185F, was substantially damaged when it collided with the ground during a forced landing near Charlton, Massachusetts. The certificated private pilot received minor injures. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight had originated earlier at Northampton, Massachusetts, at 1400.

According to the pilot, "I departed Northampton...flew to Keene, New Hampshire where I picked up fuel about 38 gallons. I departed Keene approx. [1530] flew locally for about 1 hour and then headed south to Southbridge airport about a half hour flight.

I departed northbound at about [1700], run-up was normal, outside temp was 91 [degrees fahrenheit], takeoff was normal, and when I reached between 300 - 400 feet the engine started to lose power. I looked for a safe area to land but could see only trees ahead. I engaged the high side of the fuel emergency and it did not operate. I then engaged the low side, the engine responded for about two seconds and then reverted back to the partial power situation. I saw high tension lines ahead and could not avoid striking a wire...I then continued on and struck trees where a tree came in contact with my left wing and spun me around ...I landed in a swamp at about a 45 degree angle. I had approximately 42 gallons of [fuel] when the accident occurred."

The airplane was examined at the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector. The examination revealed that the electric fuel boost pump switch had a wire disconnected from the switch assembly. Further examination revealed the firewall mounted resistor which controlled the boost pump speed was severely corroded with the result being low boost pump operation normal, and high boost pump operation intermittent. In the high position, the boost pump operated satisfactory when the engine was test run. However, when the engine was not operating the boost pump would only operate if finger pressure was placed on the terminal.

According to the FAA, during the engine test run, the engine driven fuel pump operated satisfactory. When full power was added, and the electric fuel boost pump was turned on, the engine operated satisfactory. However, when the throttle was reduced to about 1800 RPM, the engine started to lose power, and the engine was flooded.

The airplane had accumulated over 2,225 hours of total time including 4 hours since the annual inspection was completed on June 24, 1997. At the annual inspection, the engine was replaced with a zero time factory rebuilt engine. The left main fuel tank, electric fuel boost pump and the fuel collector tank drain were also replaced at the inspection.

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