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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA13LA110
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Winder, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-180, registration: N3898T
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While in the airport traffic pattern, the airplane’s engine lost all power. Subsequently, the flight instructor attempted to glide to a runway. The airplane touched down on the runway but was not aligned and traveled off the right side into a bog. Following the accident, the engine was started, but it only ran for about 10 seconds and then lost all power again. Further examination revealed that, when the engine ran briefly, fuel leaked from the inlet side of the engine-driven fuel pump due to a cracked fuel pump line fitting O-ring seal. The airplane's most recent annual inspection had been completed about 2 months before the accident. At that time, the engine had accumulated about 1,578 hours since its last overhaul about 16 years before the accident, which exceeded the engine manufacturer’s recommended time interval for overhaul of every 2,000 hours or 12 years, whichever came first. The airplane had been operated for about 15 hours since its most recent annual inspection; however, a cracked O-ring seal might not be detected during an annual inspection if the engine was not leaking fuel at that time.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A total loss of engine power due to a cracked fuel pump line fitting O-ring seal at the inlet to the enginedriven fuel pump. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the aircraft operator to comply with the engine manufacturer’s recommended time interval for overhaul.