NTSB Identification: LAX96LA036.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 02, 1995 in GRAND CANYON, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/1996
Aircraft: Agusta F.260D, registration: N404FD
Injuries: 1 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 aircraft experienced a loss of engine power on the initial climb. The pilot reported the low pressure fuel light illuminated, and the fuel pressure gauge read near zero. The pilot manipulated the fuel selector through all tank positions with the electric fuel boost pump switch in the 'on' position, but fuel pressure was not restored. Subsequently, the airplane collided with trees dring a forced landing on mountainous terrain about 2.3 miles southwest of the airport. The airplane had been modified with the installation of an auxiliary ferry fuel tank, which was only to be used during cruise flight. Fuel flow to the engine from the ferry tank was controlled by a selector valve handle, which had two positions, off and on. During a postcrash examination, the selector valve handle was found positioned a few degrees off the closed position. The ferry tank fuel line received suction whenever the mechanical or electrical fuel pumps are operating. When the valve was set at least 5 degrees off the closed position, air entered the fuel line to the engine. The valve was located near the right foot of the right seat occupant. This airplane was normally to be flown from the right seat.

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

the pilot inadvertently allowed the ferry tank fuel selector to be in (or to be moved to) a partially open position before or during takeoff, which allowed air to enter the fuel system lines and result in fuel starvation. The location of the valve in the cockpit allowed the ferry tank fuel selector handle to be susceptible to inadvertent movement by the pilot's foot.

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