Crash Plane Flown With Known Fuel Leak


The pilot who died in the crash of a Piper Navajo in Madeira, Ohio, had previously snagged a persistent fuel leak in the aircraft but flew it again a week later before the leak had been diagnosed and repaired. It’s not clear from the report whether pilot David Sapp was aware the aircraft had not been repaired. According to the NTSB, Sapp, 62, took off from Cincinnati Municipal Airport-Lunken Field on a survey flight on March 12 and reported fuel problems when he was about seven miles out. He was returning to Lunken when the aircraft disappeared from radar about five miles from the field.

A relative told the NTSB that Sapp had complained the aircraft “had a fuel leak and it was killing his sinuses.” An employee of the company that owned the plane told the NTSB the aircraft sat on the ground for about a week at Lunken and was supposed to be exchanged for another. The employee said the aircraft was not switched out and the Sapp was called in to fly it. He flew some survey patterns near Cincinnati before heading north to work near Dayton when he reported the problems. The twin hit a tree and house but no one on the ground was injured. There was little fuel in the left engine fuel system but fuel was found in right engine system.