NTSB Identification: LAX04LA210.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 14, 2004 in Lancaster, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: Downer Bellanca 14-19-2, registration: N7658B
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 airplane impacted sagebrush during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The commercial pilot reported he was in cruise flight at 1,000 feet above the ground when the engine lost power. The pilot reported the loss of power was "in a manner indicative of fuel starvation." The pilot switched fuel tanks from the auxiliary fuel tank to the right main fuel tank and attempted an engine restart with the wobble pump. The pilot obtained an engine surge, but no power. He switched to the left main fuel tank and utilized the wobble pump again, to no avail. The pilot then set up for the forced landing in desert terrain. Post-accident examination of the aircraft revealed there was no fuel present in the auxiliary fuel tank, while the left and right main fuel tanks had 10 and 15 gallons of fuel, respectively. No fuel was present in the gascolator, the carburetor, and any of the fuel lines forward of the firewall. The aircraft's operation manual indicates that the auxiliary fuel tank should not be completely emptied in flight because it will result in air being pumped into the fuel line.

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

The pilot's fuel mismanagement by his failure to follow the recommended procedures for operation of the auxiliary fuel tank, which resulted in fuel starvation and loss of engine power during cruise flight.

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