NTSB Identification: SEA95LA026.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 04, 1994 in KENT, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/13/1995
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N39852
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

THE PILOT STATED THAT THE FUEL-INJECTED ENGINE SUDDENLY LOST POWER WHILE THE AIRPLANE WAS DESCENDING THROUGH 3,000 FEET MSL FOR LANDING. THINKING THAT HE HAD DEPLETED ONE OF THE AIRPLANE'S FUEL TANKS, HE SWITCHED TANKS AND ATTEMPTED TO RESTART THE ENGINE WITHOUT ACTIVATING THE FUEL BOOST PUMP AS PER THE AIRPLANE FLIGHT MANUAL. THE ENGINE DID NOT START AND THE AIRPLANE WAS FORCE LANDED. IT IMPACTED A BERM AND WAS SUBSTANTIALLY DAMAGED. EVIDENCE OF SOME USABLE FUEL WAS FOUND IN BOTH TANKS. AN ESTIMATED 55 GALLONS OF FUEL WAS CONSUMED SINCE THE AIRPLANE WAS LAST REFUELED; THE AIRPLANE HOLDS 60 GALLONS OF USABLE FUEL. NO STANDING FUEL WAS FOUND IN ANY OF THE ENGINE FUEL COMPONENTS. ACCORDING TO THE AIRPLANE MANUFACTURER, THE 'CRITICAL ATTITUDE' FOR DETERMINING USABLE FUEL QUANTITY IS 'NOSE DOWN.' AN EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE DID NOT REVEAL EVIDENCE OF ANY MECHANICAL DEFICIENCIES. THE AIRPLANE HAD PREVIOUS DISCREPANCIES WITH ITS FUEL SYSTEM, BUT THEY WERE RESOLVED PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

FUEL STARVATION DUE TO THE UNPORTING OF THE USEABLE FUEL SUPPLY, AND THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE AIRPLANE'S PUBLISHED ENGINE STARTING PROCEDURES AFTER THE LOSS OF FUEL FLOW DURING DESCENT. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT ARE THE PILOT'S LACK OF FAMILIARITY WITH THE AIRPLANE, AND A BERM.

Full narrative available

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