NTSB Identification: ANC09FA001
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 01, 2008 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2010
Aircraft: CESSNA U206C, registration: N29109
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial pilot and sole passenger were on a personal cross-country flight operating under Title 14, CFR Part 91. Following a planned fuel stop at an FAA tower controlled airport, the pilot was cleared for takeoff to the west. During the initial climb, witnesses reported hearing the airplane's engine sputter, backfire, and then lose power about 200-300 feet above the ground. They saw the airplane make a steep left turn toward an intersecting north-south runway that the airplane had just passed. During the steep turn, the witnesses said the airplane remained in a nose high attitude, stalled, and then descended steeply, colliding with a building just outside the airport boundary fence. A postcrash fire consumed most of the airplane. The pilot and passenger died in the crash. An FAA tower controller reported that he gave the pilot instructions for a right turn on departure, and when he saw the airplane make a left turn he asked the pilot's intentions. The pilot replied that his engine was out, and the controller cleared him to land on any runway. Prior to departure, a witness saw the pilot fuel the airplane, and after fueling, the pilot entered the airplane without checking the fuel tank sumps for water or contamination. The witness said the airplane taxied to the runway, but did not stop before entering the runway, and starting the takeoff. Inspections of the wreckage and engine did not disclose any preimpact mechanical anomalies, however, the fuel tanks and contents were consumed by fire, and the magnetos had impact damage and could not be tested. The fuel tank selector was examined, and found in the right tank position, and free of obstructions. Tests conducted with a similar airplane disclosed that the engine would stop between 3 and 4 minutes if the fuel selector was positioned in either the OFF position or at a setting between the tanks. According to the tower transcripts, the total elapsed time from the request to taxi with the engine running until the report of the engine power loss was 3 minutes and 12 seconds. While the loss of engine power may be attributable to the improper positioning of the fuel selector, the inability to examine the airplane’s fuel and ignition systems for deficiencies due to damage cannot rule out either an ignition problem or fuel contamination. However, the pilot’s decision to attempt a steep turn toward an intersecting runway at such a low altitude following the loss of engine power, likely resulted in an aerodynamic stall, loss of control, and a nonsurvivable crash.

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

A loss of engine power during takeoff/initial climb for an undetermined reason, and the pilot's decision to make an abrupt and steep low altitude turn toward an intersecting runway, resulting in an aerodynamic stall and loss of aircraft control.

Full narrative available

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