NTSB Identification: ERA09LA081
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 07, 2008 in Sebastian, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2009
Aircraft: MERRELL STEPHEN F1 ROCKET, registration: N757SM
Injuries: 1 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 of the amateur-built airplane elected to operate the airplane on the accident date with the fuel selector positioned to the right tank, and flew to a nearby airport where he performed an uneventful full-stop taxi-back landing. The pilot initiated takeoff with the fuel selector positioned to the right tank which was nearly empty and contrary to the Before Take Off checklist, and remained in the traffic pattern. While on the downwind leg abeam the approach end of the intended runway with another airplane on the extended downwind leg, the engine experienced a loss of power due to fuel starvation. He regained control of the airplane, which took 15 to 20 seconds, maintained best glide airspeed and then turned towards the runway. Unable to land on the runway, he maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing, but before ground contact he switched the fuel selector to the left tank position. Engine power was not restored and the airplane was substantially damaged during the off-airport forced landing. Postaccident examination revealed, a total of approximately 15 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank, while the right fuel tank was empty. The fuel tanks were not breached and there was no evidence of fuel leakage at the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's incorrect positioning of the fuel selector valve. Full narrative available
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