NTSB Identification: ERA09LA316
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 02, 2009 in Gallman, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2011
Aircraft: Rick Campbell Zenith-STOL CH801, registration: N1399X
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
After maintenance was performed that required the draining of the fuel tanks and removal and reinstallation of the right wing, the pilot-rated mechanics performed a test flight of the accident airplane in the airport traffic pattern. While turning from the base leg onto final approach for the runway, the airplane experienced a total loss of power. The pilot made a right turn in the direction of a field; the airplane then struck trees and impacted terrain in a nearly flat, inverted attitude. A postcrash fire then ensued. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact malfunctions of the engine or airplane. During examination of the fuel system it was revealed that the fuel system consisted of four fuel tanks, each with a single fuel outlet located at the lower rear corner of the fuel tank. Further examination of the fuel system and the existing burn patterns from the postcrash fire also revealed that the right main fuel tank and the left auxiliary fuel tank had contained little or no fuel in them prior to the accident. The lack of fuel in the right main fuel tank and the location of the fuel outlet, in combination with the airplane's nose-low attitude during descent to the runway and the left bank required to turn from the base to final leg of the traffic pattern, likely resulted in air entering the fuel system from the empty or nearly empty right main fuel tank.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the flightcrew's improper fuel management. Full narrative available
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