NYC00LA051
NYC00LA051

On December 12, 1999, about 1530 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA-22-108, N5279Z, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, after it lost engine power during the initial climb after takeoff from the Wales Airport, Wales, Maine. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for the Twitchell Airport, Turner, Maine. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane departed Runway 04, a 2,100 foot long, 80 foot wide turf runway.

According to the pilot, when the airplane reached about 200 feet above the ground, the airplane's engine sputtered, and then lost total power. The pilot initiated a right turn and performed a forced landing to a field.

During the landing the airplane contacted the top of a knoll and nosed over.

Examination of the wreckage was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. After the accident, 5 gallons of fuel was drained from the left fuel tank, and 7 gallons of fuel was drained from the right fuel tank. Examination of the airplane's fuel system revealed a total blockage in the left fuel tank's aft feed line in the vicinity a bend near the fuel tank connection. According to the FAA Inspector's report, "...the bend in the line was clogged with what appeared to be hard packed sand...." There were no other pre-impact discrepancies noted.

In a follow-up interview, the pilot said he had selected the left fuel tank for the takeoff, as per the Airplane's Operating Handbook. Additionally, the pilot stated that the airplane had been flown for about 15 to 20 hours since it's most recent annual inspection, which was performed on October 22, 1999. For about 6 weeks prior to the annual inspection, the airplane was parked in a "T-Hangar" with both wings removed.

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