NTSB Identification: FTW97LA232.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 23, 1997 in EL INDIO, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: Aero Commander CALLAIR A-9B, registration: N7684V
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 was working on a boll weevil eradication contract and was in the habit of servicing the airplane (with fuel, oil, and applicant) at the end of each day. He reported that the day before the accident, he was distracted from his servicing process by the arrival of a customer and the news of a family problem. The pilot reported that the next morning, while preflighting the airplane, 'I checked the sumps but did not remove the fuel caps to visually check the fuel [quantity].' He departed for the first flight of the day with the fuel selector positioned to a nonserviced tank; its fuel quantity gage indicated that it was 'full.' While flying the first application swath, the engine lost power. The pilot 'saw the fuel pressure light come on and he turned on the boost pump, but he delayed switching fuel tanks because he thought he had full tanks on both sides and there was some other problem.' The pilot performed a forced landing to a muddy cotton field, and the airplane came to rest inverted.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inadequate preflight, subsequent fuel starvation, and failure of the pilot to reposition the fuel selector to another tank (perform emergency procedure) after the loss of engine power, which resulted in a forced landing and subseqent nose-over. Factors relating to the accident were: false fuel quantity indication, and the lack of suitable terrain for an emergency landing. Full narrative available
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