NYC99LA203
NYC99LA203

On August 16, 1999, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N2721R was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field near the Camden County Airport, Berlin, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight. No flight plan had been filed for the flight that was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

The pilot had been performing full stop takeoff and landing practice, and had completed two circuits without incident. He reported:

"I had taken off, everything was fine. I turned left downwind [for Runway 23] and when I was midfield I lowered the [landing] gear. I got 3 green [lights]. I then reached perpendicular to [the] threshold and backed power off to 1500 rpm and added 1 [notch of] flap. I proceeded to turn left base add a 2nd [notch of] flap. Then the aircraft just lost all power. I checked fuel pump, mixture, prop, throttle, and fuel selector. Everything was ok. I then got rid off flaps to attain best gliding distance. I knew I wouldn't make it and proceeded to land in the clearing. I think [I] hit a tree with right wing. I spun and rolled over and hit the ground."

An Inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and a representative of Textron Lycoming examined the airplane. He reported that when he initially went to the accident site, there was no smell of fuel on the ground and the emergency personnel who were there within minutes of the accident also reported no smell of fuel. The examination revealed that fuel continuity was established from the fuel tanks to the fuel injection unit. No evidence of blockage was found in the fuel lines between the tanks and the fuel control unit. The left wing fuel tank had struck a tree and was ruptured. In addition, The FAA inspector stated:

"...There was no evidence of fuel spillage on the ground...No fuel was evident in the left wing at the time of my inspection...A slight amount of fuel was found in the supply hose from the fuel pump to the fuel injector assembly. The lines to the flow divider on top of the engine and the flow divider had no physical signs of fuel at time of inspection...."

When the right wing fuel cap was removed, fuel drained from the tank. Compression was found in all cylinders, and the magnetos produced spark. The spark plugs were light gray in appearance, and the exhaust muffler was not blocked.

The fuel injection unit was examined by Precision Aeromotive Corporation who reported no mechanical discrepancies. The unit was flow tested, and found to flow rich at most settings.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot reported he departed with 48 gallons of 100LL aviation grade gasoline onboard. In a follow-up telephone interview, he reaffirmed that he departed with full tanks, and had no explanation as to why no evidence of a fuel spill was found from the ruptured fuel tank. He also reported that he had not changed the fuel selector during the emergency.

The FAA inspector reported that emergency personnel had moved the fuel selector 180 degrees to the off position. The FAA Inspector also reported that when he moved the fuel selector 180 degrees from off, it was positioned on the right fuel tank.

In a telephone interview, the pilot's father reported that he had checked the airplane on August 13, 1999, and at that time, the fuel tanks were full. He had not flown the airplane and was not aware of any flights with the airplane between the time he checked the fuel tanks, and the accident flight piloted by his son.

According to refueling records from Camden County Airport, where the airplane was based, the airplane was last refueled on August 8, 1999, with 14.1 gallons. The last prior refueling occurred on August 4, 1999, when the airplane received 21.9 gallons.

According to the pilot's logbook, he last flew the airplane on August 7, 1999.

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