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N6584F accident description

West Virginia map... West Virginia list
Crash location 38.366667°N, 82.557778°W
Nearest city Huntington, WV
38.419250°N, 82.445154°W
7.1 miles away
Tail number N6584F
Accident date 14 Mar 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 150
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On March 14, 2001, about 1120 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150, N6584F, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a river in Huntington, West Virginia. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the ferry flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he purchased the airplane in January, and it was overdue for an annual inspection. He was issued a ferry permit by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, to fly the airplane from Lawrence County Airpark (HTW), Huntington, West Virginia, to Ona Airpark (12V), Milton, West Virginia, for an annual inspection.

Before his departure from Huntington, the pilot performed a thorough preflight inspection. He drained water out of the fuel drains, "until the fuel was clear." The pilot performed a run-up inspection and "everything looked good." He then taxied to runway 26 and departed the airport. About 3 to 4 miles from the airport, at an altitude of 1,900 feet, the engine started "sputtering" and the pilot immediately turned the airplane around. Upon completion of the turn, the engine lost power and the pilot attempted to restart it several times. When he determined that he would not make it back to the airport, he turned the airplane toward the shore of a river, and prepared for a forced landing. The pilot estimated that the airplane impacted the water about 50 to 60 knots, and sank immediately. He was able to egress from the airplane and swim to shore.

The pilot also reported that the airplane had not been refueled since he purchased it on December 13, 2000. He further stated that during the preflight inspection, he observed about 8 gallons of fuel in the right fuel tank, and 6 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank.

According to a mechanic at Huntington, the pilot requested his assistance in obtaining a ferry permit to fly the airplane to Milton for an annual inspection. The mechanic explained the process of obtaining the permit to the pilot, and agreed to prepare the airplane for the ferry flight. The mechanic examined the airplane on March 12, 2001, and observed a "significant amount of water" in the fuel samples he drained. The first sample he drained from both fuel tanks filled the fuel strainer with water. The mechanic took three to four more samples from each fuel tank, and the fuel strainer contained about 3/4 of an inch of water each time. After all the water appeared to be drained from the fuel system, the mechanic ran the engine for 20 to 30 minutes on the ground, and reported no abnormalities. On March 13, 2001, the mechanic received the ferry flight permit from the FAA. He drained the fuel tanks again, and the fuel was absent of any contamination or water. The mechanic then called the pilot and explained that he had obtained the ferry permit, and had observed a significant amount of water in the fuel system during earlier checks.

Additionally, the mechanic reported that the airplane had not been flown for at least 3 months and that the fuel filler necks had rusted.

The pilot and mechanic reported that it had rained continuously throughout the night previous to the accident flight.

A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that the last annual inspection was performed on November 1, 1999, at 3,631 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 3,810 hours.

A search for the airplane was conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard; however, as of the writing of this report, the airplane had not been recovered.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in residual fuel contamination and a subsequent engine failure. Factors included corroded fuel filler necks and rain the previous evening.

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