MIA00LA114
MIA00LA114

On March 20, 2000, about 1545 central standard time, a McKinnis Steen Skybolt, N75CM, registered to Alamo Aerobatics, and operated as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 business flight crashed on departure from Tuscaloosa Municipal Airport, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage, and the commercial-rated pilot and one passenger were not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that he was flying the airplane to sell it for the owner/operator, and he had landed at Tuscaloosa to refuel. After departing Tuscaloosa, about 4 miles east of the airport, at an altitude of 1,500 feet, the engine ceased operating without any warning. The pilot said that he then executed an emergency landing in a municipal construction landfill, during which he hit a berm, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The pilot who is also a certificated aircraft mechanic, with an inspection authorization, further stated that he examined the wreckage the following day with an FAA inspector and they determined that the cause of the engine stoppage was due to a massive fuel leak at the gascolator. The gascolator thumb nut had not been safety wired, and it had backed off, allowing fuel to pour out the top of the gascolator unit. The airplane had accumulated 10 hours since its last condition inspection, which according to the pilot, had been performed by the owner/operator.

According to the FAA inspector, after tightening the bolt and applying fuel boost pressure to the fuel strainer, no fuel leaks were noted. The inspector further stated that the fuel in the airplane's fuel tank, as well as the fuel in the truck at the last refueling stop were both examined, and no fuel contamination was found.

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