NTSB Identification: LAX90LA197.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42679.
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 1990 in APACHE JUNCTION, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/1992
Aircraft: MOONEY M20A, registration: N8118E
Injuries: 2 Minor,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.

A MOONEY M20 COLLIDED WITH A GRAVEL PIT DURING THE LANDING ROLL AFTER A FORCED LANDING. THE PILOT MADE TWO ATTEMPTS TO COMPLETE THE FLIGHT. THE FIRST ATTEMPT WAS ABORTED DUE TO THE MIXTURE CONTROL CABLE BREAKING. THE PILOT SAFETY WIRED THE CARBURETOR TO THE FULL RICH POSITION. WHEN THE PILOT TOOK OFF THE SECOND TIME HE HAD FUEL TANK SELECTOR SWITCHED TO A FUEL CELL WITH ONLY THIRTY FIVE MINUTES OF FUEL. THE AIRCRAFT IS EQUIPPED WITH A SINGLE FUEL QUANTITY GAUGE WHICH IS SWITCHABLE TO READ THE QUANTITY IN ONLY ONE OF THE FUEL CELLS. THE FUEL QUANTITY GAUGE WAS SWITCHED TO READ THE FUEL QUANTITY OF THE OTHER FUEL CELL, WHICH CONTAINED ABOUT ONE HOUR OF FUEL. AFTER ABOUT THIRTY MINUTES OF FLIGHT THE ENGINE LOST POWER. THE PILOT THOUGHT THE POWER LOSS WAS RELATED TO THE DISCREPANCY WITH THE MIXTURE CONTROL. HE DID NOT ATTEMPT TO SWITCH TANKS. THE PILOT EXECUTED AN OFF AIRPORT LANDING IN ROUGH TERRAIN RESULTING IN SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE.

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

FAILURE OF THE PILOT IN COMMAND TO PROPERLY MANAGE THE AIRCRAFT FUEL QUANTITY GAUGE INDICATION AND FAILURE TO COMPLETE THE PROPER EMERGENCY PROCEDURE BY SWITCHING FUEL TANKS. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS IMPROPER MAINTENANCE PERFORMED BY THE PILOT WHICH DIVERTED HIS ATTENTION FROM THE DIAGNOSIS OF THE PROPER EMERGENCY PROCEDURE.

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