ATL06CA082
ATL06CA082

On May 20, 2006, at 1158 central daylight time, an Ercoupe 415C, sport pilot airplane, N99083, experienced a total loss of engine power on final approach to runway 26 at the Crossville Memorial Whitson Field, Crossville, Tennessee. The airplane collided with trees and the ground during a forced landing and received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The private pilot reported minor injuries. The flight originated from Sparta, Tennessee, on May 20, 2006, at 1130.

The private pilot stated upon arrival in the Crossville area he called on the UNICOM radio and obtained the landing information for the airport. He over flew the airport, completed the before landing checklist, applied carburetor heat, and descended into left traffic for runway 26. He turned base leg and then turned on final approach. The pilot stated he increased throttle and there was no response. The pilot immediately attempted an engine restart with negative results. No forced landing areas available so the pilot made a forced landing straight ahead, and the airplane collided with trees and the ground. The pilot stated the airplane had been flown 1 hour and 30 minutes since the last annual inspection.

The postcrash examination of the airplane was performed by an FAA inspector. The examination revealed damage to the engine cowling, engine mounts, left and right wing, and the tail of the airplane was twisted. The FAA inspector stated, "The inspection of the wreckage indicated fuel was in both wing tanks but the header tank was dry. The header tank had signs of brown corrosion, possible tank sealant. The gascolator was half full of fuel and had visible contaminants, approximately 2 tablespoons. The contaminant looked brown in color and appeared to be fuel tank sealant. After the gascolator was disassembled and the brown substance dried it turned very sticky. The examination of the engine showed completed continuity. The magnetos had good spark and the air filter system was in good working condition. It was noted that the air filter was cut out from an existing element. The filter was an aircraft part. The carburetor was broken off, the intake manifold and the fuel line to the carburetor had been broken off. The disassembly of the carburetor indicated that the screen were clean but no signs of fuel were noted. The mixture was safety wired in the fuel rich position. The engine driven fuel pump was checked and all functions were good. It was noted that the fuel pump worked properly. Fuel lines were checked for blockage and none found." Review of the airplane log books revealed the last annual inspection was conducted on May 17, 2006, at tachometer time 877.6 hours. The airframe time was 2,447.2 hours. The tachometer time at the crash site was 878.61. The airplane flew 1.1 tachometer hours after the annual inspection. The FAA inspector concluded, "This inspector completed the accident investigation with only one conclusion, contaminants in the fuel system caused reduced fuel flow to the carburetor. The engine was starved for fuel and the engine quit."

The mechanic who performed the annual inspection stated during the annual inspection that he noticed the gascolator was about three fourths full of a dark brown liquid that was clearly separate from the fuel which was on top of the liquid. The mechanic provided a checklist that he used during the annual inspection. Item 3 on page 2 of the check list entitled Power Plant Inspection-Engine and Nacelle Group states, "Drain carburetor inlet chamber, clean screen and drain bowl." There are no initials next to the entry. Item 7 states, "Check and clean gascolator screen and bowl check for safety." The mechanics initials are entered after the entry. On Page 3 of the checklist, Fuel System, item 2 states, "Drain sumps, clean fuel strainers and bowls." The mechanics initials are entered next to the entry.

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