NTSB Identification: MIA00FA177.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 30, 2000 in SMYRNA, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2001
Aircraft: Beech C23, registration: N6645P
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

Two days before the accident, the CFI and pilot-rated left seat occupant were unable to keep the engine running after starting before a flight; the fuel selector valve was found in the "off" position. The airplane was flown between then and the accident date 1.5 hours with no maintenance or discrepancies noted. The pilot-rated occupant was notified of the fuel selector finding before the accident flight and offered to be checked out; he refused. The engine quit after starting on the accident date but was restarted. A witness saw confusion on the left seat occupants face while looking at the engine gauges following the engine quitting. He also saw him moving the fuel selector handle. During climbout following a touch-and-go landing, witnesses heard the engine sputtering and observed the airplane roll to the left and pitch nose down. Browning of grass forward of each wing fuel tank was noted; 4 gallons of fuel drained from the right fuel tank. Examination of the engine and flight controls revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Approximately 2 ounces of fuel were found in the carburetor bowl; the flexible hose from the engine driven fuel pump to the carburetor was dry. The fuel selector valve was found not in a detent but near one of the "off" positions. The arrow on the fuel selector handle which points to the tank selected was found to be painted red contrary to the engineering drawing. Fuel selector handles from airplanes flown by the pilot-rated left seat occupant consisted of the longer end pointing to the tank selected. The pilot-rated left seat occupant and CFI had no recorded flight experience in the airplane. Impact signatures on the co-pilot's control column correlate to a right roll and aft elevator input.

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

The failure of the dual student to maintain airspeed following total loss of engine power resulting in an inadvertent stall and subsequent uncontrolled descent. Also, inadequate supervision by the CFI for her failure to note the position of the fuel selector valve and her failure to maintain control of the airplane. Factors in the accident were the flight crews lack of experience in the accident airplane, improper painting of the arrow on the fuel selector handle by an unknown person, and the improper placement of the fuel selector handle to the off position by an unknown pilot resulting in fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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