NTSB Identification: ATL07CA018.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 09, 2006 in Pine Hill, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Grumman G-164B, registration: N962QC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot stated that he completed five aerial application sorties before returning for fuel and fertilizer. The fuel and fertilizer was added to the airplane, and the pilot assumed the airplane had been topped off with fuel. The pilot did not visually check the fuel tanks. The airplane holds 82 gallons of fuel of which 2 gallons are unusable. The airplane burns 44 gallons of fuel per hour and it burns 15 gallons of fuel while at flight idle when the airplane is being loaded with fuel or fertilizer. The pilot stated that he was not sure how much fuel the airplane uses for taxi, takeoff, and climb to his cruise altitude. The pilot departed and flew five additional sorties before returning 1 hour 27 minutes later. The airplane remained at flight idle while fertilizer was loaded onto the airplane and no fuel was added. The pilot departed, climbed to 700 feet, and was in cruise flight when the engine lost power. The pilot turned to the left and made a forced landing to a field where trees had been harvested. The landing gear collided with the tree stumps on landing roll out, separated the landing gear, and the airframe received structural damage. Examination of the airplane by recovery personnel revealed that the fuel tank was not ruptured and no fuel was present in the fuel tank. No fuel spill was observed nor was there a presence of the smell of fuel at the crash site. The fuel line from the fuel tank to the airframe filters was severed. The main fuel line from the airframe filters was removed from the main engine fuel pump inlet fitting and residual fuel was present. The opposite end of the fuel line was removed from the exit side of the airframe filters and no fuel was present. The main fuel line to the engine was disconnected and no fuel was present. The fuel line from the inlet side of the airframe filters was disconnected and no fuel was present. The engine assembly was transported to an authorized repair facility. The engine assembly was installed in a test cell. The engine started in 22 seconds on the first attempt. The engine vibrated which was attributed to a suspected bent propeller shaft. All ground idle operations were normal. The fuel control unit and propeller governor were damaged. When power was applied, the fuel control unit and propeller governor would not govern the engine rpm. The engine was shut down, started three additional times, and ran for about 30 minutes.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper fuel management resulting in a total loss of engine power in cruise flight due to fuel exhaustion, subsequent forced landing to non suitable terrain, and an on-ground collision with tree stumps on the landing roll out. Full narrative available
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