NTSB Identification: SEA96LA085.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 28, 1996 in COVINGTON, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/1997
Aircraft: Aero Commander 200D, registration: N2975T
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot stated that the aircraft's two main tanks (usable capacity 18.5 gallons each) were half full, with 'a couple of inches of fuel visible' before takeoff. He elected to make a 15-1/2 nautical mile flight without refueling. During the base-to-final turn at the destination, the aircraft's engine lost power. The pilot stated that he immediately switched from the left main tank to the right main tank, but that he 'did not activate the boost pump because it had flooded the engine in the past.' The engine did not restart, and the pilot decided he would not be able to reach the landing runway. He then performed a forced landing in a soft, uneven field. The airplane was substantially damaged during the forced landing. On-site examination revealed that the left main tank contained only residual fuel, the right main tank appeared empty, and both auxiliary tanks (usable capacity 18.5 gallons each) appeared about 1/4 full. During a postaccident engine test, the engine was successfully run for approximately five minutes by using residual fuel in the main tanks.

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

fuel starvation, due to the pilot's improper fuel management. The uneven terrain in the forced landing area was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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