NTSB Identification: FTW96FA085.
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Accident occurred Monday, January 08, 1996 in OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/03/1996
Aircraft: SEMPLE SMYTH SIDEWINDER, registration: N86S
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot had just purchased the airplane and was planning to return to his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and the seller flew the airplane on an 'orientation ride' for 'approximately 10 minutes' before the pilot departed. According to the seller, the pilot had considerable experience in a similar airplane, but the fuel selector handles in the two airplanes were configured in an opposite manner. The accident airplane was observed to depart from runway 17 and turn east. At approximately a quarter of a mile from the airpark and at approximately 500 feet AGL, the engine began to 'sputter.' About 8 seconds later, the engine 'quit.' The airplane continued east and was observed to make a gentle bank to the right and then to the left, but 'the nose was never lowered to establish a glide.' The airplane was observed to stall and spin to the left, rotating about 2 turns before impacting the ground. Postimpact examination of the fuel selector handle and valve revealed they were in the 'off' position.

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

The pilot's improper positioning of the fuel selector, which resulted in fuel starvation and loss of engine power, and his failure to maintain sufficient airspeed while coping with the emergency, which resulted in and inadvertent stall and subsequent spin. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's lack of experience in type of airplane, and habit interference with respect to use of the fuel selector.

Full narrative available

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