NTSB Identification: CHI03LA029.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 23, 2002 in Stalwart, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N5985Y
Injuries: 3 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.
While in cruise descent the left engine experienced a loss of engine power and the pilot performed a forced landing on an agricultural field. The pilot stated he checked the fuel quantity gauges and the "left fuel quantity was reading 1/4 tank and the fuel selector remained on the inboard tanks because the [gauge] indicated fuel in the tank." The pilot reported that he did not secure the left engine and feather the propeller because "the [left] engine was creating some thrust and this could be needed to reach land." The aircraft was situated over Lake Huron when the left engine experienced the loss of engine power. All four fuel tanks were drained during a post-accident inspection. The two inboard fuel tanks were empty and a total of 70 gallons of fuel was recovered from the two outboard tanks. The fuel tanks were not ruptured or damaged. The left engine started and ran without anomalies when the fuel selector was positioned on the outboard tank. The pilot reported that prior to departure "all fuel tanks were topped off", totaling 144 gallons.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper fuel management during the flight and the pilot's improper decision not to select the outboard fuel tank when a loss of engine power was experienced, resulting in fuel starvation, a sustained loss of engine power, and subsequent forced landing. Full narrative available
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