NTSB Identification: DEN08LA053.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 26, 2008 in Valley Center, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Phillips Flite Bike, registration: N31559
Injuries: 1 Serious.
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 the airplane preflight and engine start were normal. He shut the engine down and turned the left fuel tank valve to the off position while he was waiting for a flight partner. He stated that he became distracted once his flight partner had arrived, as he was having difficulties with his engine. Shortly thereafter, he restarted his engine and departed for his local flight. After the departure, the engine lost power. He stated that he lowered the nose to achieve "maximum" airspeed and maneuvered the airplane to avoid several trees. He "could feel the airplane sinking and stalling" and did not have enough "altitude, time, and airspeed to recover." The airplane was substantially damaged. An examination of the airplane systems conducted by the FAA revealed no anomalies. The fuel valve was in the off position. The pilot reported that he "failed to turn on the left fuel tank valve." He stated that he had 7 minutes of fuel in the header tank; just enough to start the engine, taxi, and takeoff.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during an emergency descent resulting in an inadvertent stall/mush. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to turn on the fuel tank valve resulting in fuel starvation and the loss of engine power. Full narrative available
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