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N87198 accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Independence, KS
39.698608°N, 95.166917°W
Tail number N87198
Accident date 14 Jun 2003
Aircraft type Engineering & Research 415-C
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 14, 2003, at 1127 central daylight time, an Engineering & Research Corporation 415-C (Ercoupe), N87198, owned and piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power near Independence, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and the passenger were uninjured. The flight originated from Colonel James Jabara Airport (AAO), Wichita, Kansas, at 1030, and was en route to Independence Municipal Airport (IDP), Independence, Kansas.

The airplane was about six nautical miles northwest from (IDP) when it experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot stated he made a forced landing on a farm field.

A post accident investigation by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed the following: No obstructions were found in the main gascolator, fuel pump, and carburetor fuel screens. The carburetor, fuel pump, and return lines from the fire wall did not contain obstructions. The fuselage gravity feed fuel tank was empty, while the remaining fuel in the wing tanks measured to be five gallons. The engine driven pump was primed by hand and pumped fuel.

A certified mechanic reported that at least one of the fuel caps on the wing tanks was found to be on backwards. According to the Ercoupe operating manual, "It has been the experience of some Ercoupe owners and operators that line mechanics put the wing tank caps on backwards. To prevent malfunctioning of the fuel system, it is imperative that the caps be put on the tanks with the vent hole to the front. This provides venting of each wing tank and will prevent syphoning or unequal flow of the fuel. Unequal flow may result in the fuel pump being unable to transfer all of the fuel from the wing tanks to the fuselage tank."

The manual further states, "The sealing of the cap gasket also effects proper venting. If difficulty is experienced in attaining a good seal of the gas cap, which is an un-machined casting, the sealing surface may be filed smooth and the gasket cemented to this surface. Should there be an excessive amount of solder on the filler neck sealing surface, it may also be removed by filing."

NTSB Probable Cause

A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. A factor to the accident was the pilot's improper installation of the fuel cap.

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