NYC05LA111
NYC05LA111

On July 1, 2005, at 1040 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N3992R, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after departing from the Moraine Airpark, West Carrollton, Ohio. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, destined for Gainesville, Georgia. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he arrived at the Moraine Airpark on June 29, 2005, and parked the airplane. On the day of the accident the airplane was fueled with 33.1 gallons of 100 low lead aviation fuel. The pilot then conducted a "thorough" preflight inspection, which included taking fuel samples from the sump drains.

Upon takeoff from runway 26, the pilot smelled smoke, but elected to not abort the takeoff due to insufficient remaining runway. The airplane climbed to an altitude of 500 feet, when the pilot felt that "things just weren't right," and he elected to return to the airport. As he banked the airplane to the left, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot then performed a forced landing, where the airplane struck trees, and subsequently impacted the ground.

According to an employee at the airpark, he observed the pilot loading his baggage into his airplane, which had been tied down at the airpark for approximately 2 days. The employee then observed the airplane taxiing on the parallel taxiway towards runway 8, and subsequently conduct a high speed taxi down the runway. The airplane exited at the midfield point on the runway, and then taxi towards the run-up area for runway 26.

Approximately 5 minutes later, the employee heard the airplane's engine sputter as it passed mid-field. The airplane was already airborne, and it seemed like it was having trouble climbing over the river levy, located at the departure end of the runway. After passing over the levy, the airplane disappeared from view briefly, and then appeared again. The engine sounded as though it was "straining," and was running rough. The employee then heard the pilot transmit over the radio, "emergency landing." The airplane then banked to the left, in a nose up stall attitude, and collided with trees located southwest of the runway. The employee did not recall observing any smoke or fire emitting from the airplane during the accident sequence.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the end of one propeller blade was broken off, and the other blade was bent rearward.

Examination of the left and right wing fuel filler openings displayed "heavy" corrosion. Their respective filler cap gaskets were worn and flattened, and did not form an effective seal. Review of the airplanes maintenance logbooks did not reveal any entries regarding fuel filler cap replacement.

Examination of the cockpit area revealed that no circuit breakers were tripped, and no evidence of overheating or fire was observed behind the instrument panel. The fuel pump switch was observed in the "ON" position, and the fuel selector was observed in the "right tank" position.

The FAA inspector examined the cabin of the airplane, and found a fuel sample device. Examination of the fuel sample device revealed loose sediment and debris in the bottom of the cup, and that it smelled of must.

Fuel was observed in both tanks by the local fire department who responded to the accident.

A fuel sample of approximately .1 ounce was recovered from the engine feed line. When the sample was applied to a water finding paste coupon, no contamination was noted. No fuel samples were taken from the fuel gascolator due to impact damage.

The engine was removed from the airframe and placed on a test stand. The engine was started, and ran with no abnormalities noted. Due to the crankshaft being bent during the accident, the engine was only run to 700 rpm.

The electric fuel pump was removed from the firewall and tested, with no abnormalities noted. Further examination of the pump did not reveal any defects or evidence of overheating.

Review of recorded weather from an airport located 13 miles north of Moraine Airpark revealed that about .35 inches of rain fell on June 30, 2005.

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