NTSB Identification: CEN11LA084
On November 27, 2010, approximately 1550 central standard time, a Grumman American AA-5B, N4541L, registered to and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during a forced landing after the engine lost power during near Navada, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. The cross-country flight originated at Bonham (F00), Texas, and was en route to Rockwall (F46), Texas.
The pilot told FAA inspectors that while in cruise flight, the engine lost power. During the ensuing forced landing, the pilot was able to clear power lines, but the airplane stalled and impacted terrain. The left wing was bent from the wing tip inboard about two ribs, and the spar in that area was broken. The nose and right main landing gears were also torn off.
According to the pilot's accident report, he was cruising at 3,000 feet when "the engine sputtered." The pilot switched from the right to the left fuel tank and turned the boost pump on. The engine "started to regain power, then began to lose RPM again." After clearing powerlines, "the right wing went up in response to a wind gust" and the airplane impacted an open plowed field.
At 1553, the surface wind conditions at Dallas Love Field Airport, approximately 35 miles southeast of the accident site were reported 190 degrees at 7 knots.
On December 7, 2010, the engine was examined and functionally tested at the facilities of Fletchaire, Incorporated, Fleet Support in Fredericksburg, Texas. Prior to the engine run, the carburetor bowl was examined and found to be clean and dry. The fuel filter contained considerable debris that resembled paint chips. The pilot said the airplane had recently been painted. The fuel filter was cleaned and reinstalled. The engine operated satisfactory.
The fuel system between the fuel tanks and the electric fuel pump was pressurized and checked for leaks. Two leaks were found. In a memo from Fletchaire, Inc., they reported finding one leak at the fitting that reduced the 3/8” fuel line to a 1/8” flare fitting. The leak was between the #6 tee (MS20826-6D) fitting and the 5401131-2 reducer. The other leak was a cracked flare fitting on the copper primer line where it attached to the 5401131-2 reducer. Fuel stains were noted in this area. Fletchaire, Inc., said it was possible that "air may have been sucked into the fuel system, cavitating the fuel line at this point. This may not have caused this plane’s demise."