NTSB Identification: MIA02LA116.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 21, 2002 in Raleigh, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/2003
Aircraft: Navion Nav4, registration: N5235K
Injuries: 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.
According to the pilot, after completion of a cross-country flight of about 2 hours and 20 minutes, he began a descent and pulled the knob to start fuel transfer from the reserve (auxiliary) tank. He entered the airport pattern, flew one circuit of the pattern to check the wind sock. He turned onto the base leg, and a few seconds later turned onto final. After turning onto final the engine lost power. He immediately checked the fuel selector, added full throttle to the engine, checked the propeller control, mixture and booster pump to the high boost position. He felt he could not make it to the runway, and braced for a crash landing. The airplane struck trees and fell to the ground. An examination of the engine revealed no discrepancies. Fuel calculations revealed that fuel consumption for the length of this flight would be close to exhausting the fuel in the main tanks, and that the fuel in the main tanks was near empty when the pilot switched to the auxiliary tank. The auxiliary tank was gravity fed into the right main tank, and not to the selector valve. Upon entering a steep bank turn, from base leg to final, all the small amount of fuel went to the low side with no way to the accumulator tank from that position. In addition, the placards in the airplane were clear that an auxiliary tank is to be used in straight, level flight. The aircraft TCDS (type certificate data sheets) precludes the operation of the auxiliary tank except in "straight and level flight." It is not approved for use for take-off or landing. The pilot had a total of 484 hours in all aircraft, with a total of 44 hours in this make and model airplane. Of the 44 hours in this make and model, 25 flight hours were as pilot-in-command.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inadequate preflight planning, improper fuel consumption calculations, and selection of the auxiliary fuel tank for landing, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation, and forced landing in trees. A factor in this accident was the pilot's lack of total experience in type of aircraft.
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