NTSB Identification: FTW97LA118.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 06, 1997 in HUDSON, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Ryan NAVION A, registration: N800PS
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 said he last flew the airplane 5 days before the accident. On that day, the airplane had been fueled to capacity, then he flew for 1.5 hours. For the accident flight, the pilot estimated he had no less than 38 gallons of fuel on board (20 gallons in the fuselage tank and 18 gallons in the two wing tanks). The pilot said that although he did not visually check the fuel tanks prior to takeoff, the fuel gauges indicated all fuel tanks were full. Shortly after takeoff, the engine lost power. The pilot made a forced landing in a plowed field, and the airplane was substantially damaged. When the pilot removed the right wing fuel cap, he saw no evidence of fuel in the tank. The fuselage tank was full. Fuel from the fuselage tank can be introduced into the main fuel supply by opening the fuel transfer valve. Activating the boost pump will accelerate the process. The pilot said he turned on the boost pump but did not have sufficient time to open the fuel transfer valve.

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

A total power loss due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection of the airplane and its fuel system. Factors include: the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane, the improper fuel tank selector position that would not allow fuel transfer from the fuselage tank to the wing tanks, and the rough, uneven, and soft terrain on which the forced landing was made.

Full narrative available

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