NTSB Identification: IAD02LA035.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 25, 2002 in WILMINGTON, DE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Beechcraft C23, registration: N2192W
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 flight instructor and private pilot were returning to their home airport after a 1.9 hour instructional flight. On final approach, the engine stopped producing power. The flight instructor took control of the airplane and landed on an embankment short of the runway. According to a police officer, who arrived on the scene an hour after the accident, the left fuel tank was found empty, and the fuel selector valve was found positioned to the left tank. The tank was not breached and there were no signs of leakage. However, fuel was observed in the right fuel tank. When the fuel selector valve was positioned to the right fuel tank, fuel flowed freely from the fuel strainer fuel line. Eighteen gallons of fuel were then drained from the right fuel tank. According to the Beechcraft Sundowner C23 Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), the fuel selector handle was located on the floorboards between the pilot and copilot seats. According to the published before landing checklist, item 2 stated: "Fuel Selector Valve-SELECT TANK MORE NEARLY FULL (feel for detent and check visually)." No mechanical deficiencies were noted with the engine, or fuel system.

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

the flight instructor's improper fuel management which resulted in fuel starvation. A factor in the accident was the flight instructor's failure to follow the published checklist procedures.

Full narrative available

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