NTSB Identification: ANC98FA116.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 05, 1998 in KETCHIKAN, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N5314R
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Serious.

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 told the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) during an interview on August 6, that he parked the airplane with the right wing over the dock, placed the fuel selector valve in the 'LEFT' position to prevent fuel cross-feeding while on the water, and requested the lineman fill the right wing. He told the NTSB IIC he recalled seeing the right tank fuel gauge read full, and the left tank gauge read 1/8 to 1/4 (5 gallons to 10 gallons) when he departed on the accident flight. He said he always does a 'GUMPS' (Gas-Undercarriage-Mixture-Prop) check prior to takeoff. The company wrote in a statement submitted to the NTSB IIC on May 10, 1999, and told the NTSB IIC, that the pilot did not remember placing the fuel valve to the 'LEFT' position during fueling. After about 45 minutes of flight, and one water landing and takeoff, the engine quit while the airplane was at 800 feet msl climbing toward rising terrain. The pilot said he turned on the electric fuel pump, but the engine did not start. He saw the fuel selector valve in the 'LEFT' tank position. He indicated he turned the selector valve to the 'BOTH' position, and turned the airplane 180 degrees toward lower terrain. The engine did not restart and the airplane contacted trees and marshy terrain. Investigation revealed fuel in the right wing tank, no fuel in the left wing tank, and one teaspoon of fuel in the intact fuel lines to the engine. Charted fuel consumption for 45 minutes at a cruise power setting of 2,300 rpm at 23 inches of manifold pressure is 9.4 gallons. The BEFORE TAKEOFF checklist states, in part: '(6) Fuel Selector Valve - BOTH ON, (7) Fuel Quantity Indicators - CHECK QUANTITY.' The pilot stated during interviews with the NTSB, FAA, and Alaska State Troopers, on August 6, and August 7, that he believed the rear seat passenger must have kicked the fuel selector valve to the 'LEFT' position. The NTSB IIC, the FAA coordinator, and the company representative, all sat in the rear seat of a representative Cessna 185 on August 8 and attempted to move the fuel selector to the 'LEFT' position with their feet. None of them were able to move the valve further than 1 inch (12 degrees) to the left of the 'BOTH' position.

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

Fuel starvation and the pilot's improper fuel tank selection. Factors associated with the accident were the pilot's failure to follow the pre-takeoff checklist and trees.

Full narrative available

Index for Aug1998 | Index of months