On November 17, 1997, at 1030 central standard time, a Cessna 172G airplane, N202EX, owned and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged after impacting terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Van, Texas. Both occupants, the commercial pilot and the pilot-rated passenger, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, for which no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from a private grass strip near Van, Texas, at 1029.

The pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) and in an interview, that this was the first "test flight" since he purchased the airplane. The airplane had been repaired and reassembled, in part by the pilot/mechanic who holds an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate, due to an accident that the aircraft was involved in on May 9, 1996. The pilot stated that he performed an "extensive" preflight before starting the engine and that the run-up was "normal." He then positioned the airplane at the approach end of runway 04, with the flaps set at 10 degrees and the fuel selector switch on "both."

During the take-off roll all instrument indications, including RPM, were normal. The airplane was climbing through approximately 150 feet AGL, when the engine lost power. The pilot reported that he "pumped" the throttle and there was a "momentary burst" of power. He continued to pump the throttle, but subsequent pumps had no effect. During the descent, the pilot banked the airplane to the left and impacted a power line. The airplane impacted the ground and subsequently turned 180 degrees, coming to rest upright, adjacent to a line of trees.

Examination of the aircraft at the site revealed structural damage to the fuselage. The right main landing gear and nose gear assemblies were found separated from the aircraft.

The Marvel Schebler/Precision Airmotive Carburetor (p/n 10-4894) was removed at the site by the parties of the investigation under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The travel for the metal type float was found to be limited. Further examination of the carburetor was conducted at J and G Aero Carburetor, Inc., in Dallas, Texas, under supervision of a NTSB representative. This examination revealed that the float valve retractor clip was improperly installed behind the float hanger, which restricted float travel. The proper installation of the clip is to the side of the float hanger. It was also found that the float drop was set at 1.5 inches. The proper float drop setting is between 1.72 to 1.78 inches. The improper installation of the float valve retractor clip and the improper setting on the float drop resulted in fuel starvation to the engine.

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