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N43266 accident description

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Crash location 36.457500°N, 82.885000°W
Nearest city Rogersville, TN
36.407317°N, 83.005442°W
7.5 miles away
Tail number N43266
Accident date 25 Apr 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-151
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On April 25, 2003, at 1800 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-151, N43266, registered to a private individual, and operated by Advanced Flight Training, collided with trees one mile from the departure end of runway 25 at Hawkins County Airport Rogersville, Tennessee. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage, and the pilot was not injured. The flight departed Rogersville, Tennessee, at 1758 on April 25, 2003.

The intended destination of the flight was Tri-Cities Regional Airport Bristol, Tennessee. According to the pilot, shortly after liftoff from runway 25, the airplane climbed to 300 feet, and the engine lost power. Efforts by the pilot to restore engine power were unsuccessful. The pilot elected to execute a forced landing. The pilot continued on the runway heading and the airplane landed in a small field. During the emergency landing rollout, the airplane rolled approximately 50 feet and collided with a stand of trees.

Examination of the downed airplane revealed that the wreckage came to rest one mile from the departure end of runway 25. The wreckage distribution of the downed airplane covered an area of 80 feet long and 80 feet wide along a magnetic path of 280 degrees. The right wing was separated and bent upward at the attachment point to the fuselage. The leading edge of the left wing had crush damage with tree bark on the wing. The engine cowling was displaced forward. The right side of the fuselage was buckled.

Examination of the engine found the valve train operable. The bottom spark plugs showed signs of excess fuel. The top spark plugs were of brownish tint and no lead fouling was noted. The carburetor was disassembled and both floats were full of volatile substance. The substance was very light blue in color. Further investigation determined that the aircraft held an STC for automotive gasoline. The light blue mixture was part aviation fuel and part automotive gasoline.

The seams of the metal carburetor floats had separated and fuel was observed in the open cavity. The floats were observed at the bottom of the fuel bowl. Reviews of the engine logbooks show that the engine had two previous engine fires where the carburetor was overhauled and reinstalled. Records show Mikes Aircraft Fuel Metering Service Inc overhauled carburetor. The last reinstallation of the carburetor was on April 25, 2003 at tachometer time 6999.71 hours; the accident occurred at 7000.1 hours.

The pilot stated that she performed a preflight and run-up which showed no indication of a problem with the airplane.

NTSB Probable Cause

The rupture of the carburetor float, which resulted in the loss of engine power and subsequent on ground collision with trees.

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