IAD05LA071
IAD05LA071

On June 2, 2005, at 1930 eastern daylight time, a 1934 Piper E2, N2122, was substantially damaged during a collision with trees following a forced landing after takeoff near, Hastings, New York. The certificated private pilot/mechanic/owner was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight that originated at the pilot/owner's private airstrip, at 1928. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a telephone interview, the pilot explained that he had purchased the airplane 1 month prior to the accident. The airplane was partially disassembled for transport after its purchase, and had been flying for 8 days since its reassembly. The airplane had accrued about 6 hours of flight time during that time span.

Earlier on the day of the accident, the pilot flew the airplane for about 1 hour with no deficiencies noted. Later that evening, he decided to fly the airplane for 10 to 15 minutes before securing it for the evening.

The pilot started the engine and performed a ground run to bring the engine up to normal operating temperature. He then taxied for departure from the north/south strip. The takeoff and initial climb at maximum power proceeded without incident. When the airplane reached about 150 feet above ground level, the pilot adjusted the throttle for climb power, and the engine "completely cut off." He said there was no sputter or decrease in power before the complete power loss.

The pilot maneuvered the airplane back toward the airport for a landing on the east/west runway. During the turn, he determined that the trees in his path could not be cleared, and he leveled the wings prior to striking the trees. The airplane remained suspended in the trees for a few moments, and then settled to the ground.

The airplane was examined at the scene by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors on the day of the accident, and on June 6, 2005.

Examination of the airplane revealed that all major components were accounted for at the scene. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces. The airplane was then moved from the site to the owner's hangar.

The engine was started, and it ran on the airframe. The engine was stopped, and the fuel system was examined. The carburetor was intact, and the gascolator contained fuel. A fuel sample from the gascolator contained small amounts of sediment. The fuel line from the fuel selector to the gascolator was absent of debris.

A 90-degree fitting was installed between the fuel tank and the fuel selector. The fitting was removed, and examination revealed that the fitting was completely occluded with rust, sediment, and debris.

The fuel tank was removed, and the top was cut open to examine the contents. Examination of the tank revealed it was comprised of two compartments, separated by a baffle. The area forward of the baffle contained a large quantity of "sludge," rust, and debris.

According to the pilot owner, he examined the interior of the fuel tank with a bore scope prior to purchase, but he did not examine the tank forward of the baffle.

The airplane had accrued about 1,380 total hours of flight time. The airplane was rebuilt in 1989, and had accrued 84 total hours since then. It's most recent annual inspection was completed in March 2005, just prior to the owner's purchase.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued in May 2002. The pilot reported 700 total hours of flight experience. He flew 25 hours in the 90 days prior to the accident, 6 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

At 1954, the weather reported at Syracuse International Airport (SYR), Syracuse, New York, about 20 miles north, included a broken ceiling at 8,500 feet with wind from 300 degrees at 5 knots.

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