NYC02LA140
NYC02LA140

On July 17, 2002, about 0940 eastern daylight time, a Boeing Stearman A75N1, N64567, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff Samuels Field (BRY), Bardstown, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The flight originated at a private airstrip and the pilot intended to fly to an airport in Tennessee.

In a written statement, the pilot said he performed a thorough preflight inspection of the airplane before he departed the private airstrip. After flying for about 1 hour, he landed at BRY to refuel. He added 30.5 gallons of aviation gasoline to the airplane and performed another preflight inspection, which included draining fuel from the "belly strainer." The pilot performed an engine run-up and a normal takeoff; however, shortly after takeoff, when the airplane was about 300 to 400 feet above the ground, the engine began to lose power. The pilot attempted a forced landing to a small field. However, the airplane impacted the ground left wing down and bounced. The engine separated from the fuselage and the airplane came to rest on the main landing gear.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed damage to both the left and right wing spars, aft fuselage, and firewall. Examination of the engine revealed debris in the oil screen, which consisted of large carbon and rust deposits. The spark plugs were examined and all exhibited signs of fouling consistent with carbon deposits. Three of the outboard spark plug electrode gaps were "closed" due to debris lodged in the head of the plugs. There was a small amount of fuel in the carburetor. The fuel was "milky white" in color. The belly drain was sumped, and the fuel was found to contain "large" amounts of water. The inspector also noted that the wing tank drains were wired closed and could not be sampled.

According to the FAA inspector, the airplane was recently purchased at an estate sale, after having been in storage for about 12 years. The airplane had been checked by an aircraft mechanic prior to the accident flight, and it had a new carburetor and two new magnetos installed. Additionally, the airplane had been operated for about 1 hour since an annual inspection had been completed.

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