NTSB Identification: SEA05LA192.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 08, 2005 in Chehalis, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2005
Aircraft: North American AT-6D, registration: N3617F
Injuries: 2 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.

The pilot reported that he had been conducting revenue sightseeing and instructional flights throughout the day. This was the 11th ride of the day for the purpose of sightseeing. The pilot stated that during the pre-takeoff check, he recorded on the manifest that he switched the fuel selector to the fullest fuel tank, but failed to physically perform the action of switching the fuel selector. During the takeoff initial climb at about 100 feet above ground level, the engine began to lose power. The landing gear was already retracted and the pilot called for his passenger to extend the landing gear. The pilot switched the fuel selector to the fullest fuel tank and pumped the manual fuel pump. At the same time as the aircraft landed hard on the remaining runway, the engine regained power and the pilot continued the takeoff. The landing gear was left in the extended position and was soon determined that the right main landing gear torque link was damaged and the wheel was 90 degrees to the direction of flight. After discussing the situation with the ground crew, the pilot elected to land the aircraft with the landing gear retracted. During the gear-up landing, the aircraft slid off the runway surface into a muddy area, colliding with a runway taxi light and raised manhole cover.

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

The pilot's failure to follow the checklist to switch to the fullest fuel tank prior to departure which resulted in fuel starvation and a loss of engine power during the initial takeoff climb. Subsequently, the aircraft landed hard damaging the landing gear which resulted in an intentional wheels up landing. A runway taxiway sign was a factor.

Full narrative available

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