NTSB Identification: ERA09LA532
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 20, 2009 in Fire Island, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/16/2011
Aircraft: RYAN Navion, registration: N4467K
Injuries: 3 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.

According to the pilot, the airplane was equipped with three fuel tanks: one main tank in each wing and an auxiliary tank in the fuselage. Each tank had a capacity of approximately 20 gallons. Prior to his departure, the pilot filled the auxiliary fuel tank and determined that there was a total of approximately 25 gallons in the main tanks. During cruise, about 55 minutes into the cross-country flight, the pilot decided to switch from the main wing tanks to the auxiliary tank. In accordance with the normal operating procedure, the pilot first turned on the fuel boost pump and then switched the fuel selector valve to the auxiliary tank. Very shortly thereafter the engine lost all power. The pilot immediately switched the fuel selector valve back to the main tanks. Although all controls were set properly, the engine did not resume developing power and the pilot’s restart attempts were unsuccessful. The pilot then executed a forced landing on a nearby beach. Postaccident examination and testing revealed that the cork gasket in the fuel strainer was deteriorated, did not provide a proper seal, and allowed air to be introduced into the fuel system when the selector valve was switched to the auxiliary tank. The investigation could not determine the age of the gasket or whether it was the correct part. The airplane had accumulated about 5 hours in service since the fuel selector valve was replaced, and the airplane had not been flown using fuel from the auxiliary tank since the valve replacement.

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

A total loss of engine power during cruise flight due to fuel starvation as a result of a deteriorated fuel gasket.

Full narrative available

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