NTSB Identification: LAX00FA126.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 11, 2000 in Fallbrook, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q, registration: N95996
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 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.
A witness observed the airplane taxi from the pilot's hangar to the runway without conducting an engine run-up. Shortly after takeoff, the engine lost power. Witnesses reported that the airplane cleared utility lines and then pitched nose down, impacting terrain in a nose low attitude. The passenger stated that she didn't think that the private pilot performed an engine run-up prior to takeoff. She added that after the engine lost power, the pilot reached down to the lower section of the center column area and turned something. The fuel selector valve is located on the bottom of the center control column and is operated by manually rotating the selector valve handle to one of the four positions; OFF, LEFT, BOTH, and RIGHT. The fuel selector valve was found in the left fuel tank position. Fuel was found in the fuel line immediately upstream of the boost pump, however, no fuel was found between the gascolator and the boost pump. The airplane had been modified by STC for a Continental IO-550 engine; part of the installation involved installing a 1-quart capacity header tank between the selector and fuel control unit. The engine was operated on a test stand and no anomalies were noted that would have prevented its operation. One of the witnesses was also an acquaintance of the pilot and reported that the pilot was in the habit of turning the fuel selector to the off position when the he hangared his aircraft. This was due to instances in the past in which fuel had leaked on his hangar floor when the fuel selector had not been turned off. He added that the pilot experienced a loss of engine power while taxiing in the past due to the fuel selector being in the off position. The Preflight Inspection, Before Starting Engine, and Before Takeoff checklists instruct the pilot to place the fuel selector valve in the on or both position. Toxicological tests on the pilot were positive for paroxetine, and verapamil. Paroxetine is a prescription antidepressant drug and verapamil is a prescription medication for high blood pressure. The paroxetine is not approved by the FAA for use during flight; however current medical literature shows the drug does not appear to have adverse performance effects when taken in therapeutic dosages. The subtle effects of higher than normal doses have not been systematically investigated, though symptoms of over dosages have been reported to include sedation and dizziness. The pilot did not report the use of the aforementioned medications on his last application for an airman medical certificate.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the loss of engine power resulting from fuel starvation due to the pilot's inadequate pre-flight inspection, inadequate performance of the pre-takeoff checklist, and failure to ensure that the fuel selector was properly positioned prior to takeoff. Also causal was the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed while attempting to clear a power line during the ensuing forced landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Full narrative available
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