NTSB Identification: ERA10LA410
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 10, 2010 in Eastman, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180, registration: N730FT
Injuries: 3 Minor.
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 certified flight instructor (CFI) stated that the fuel tanks were approximately full prior to the instructional cross-country flight. During the descent, the left engine and then the right engine lost total engine power. The CFI assumed control of the airplane and initiated an engine restart, which was unsuccessful. The airplane struck several trees and came to rest inverted. According to the airplane’s pilot operating handbook, in order to begin restoring power, the fuel selector must be in the "ON" position. Examination of the wreckage indicated that the fuel selector valves were in the "OFF" positions; further, no malfunctions or anomalies were found to prevent the engines from operating normally. According to both pilots, neither could recall turning the fuel selector valves to the "OFF" positions. In a written statement provided by the flight school's assistant chief flight instructor, a rear seat passenger would be able to inadvertently retard both fuel selector valves to the "OFF" position. Although it is probable that the inadvertent retarding of the selector valves caused the initial engine failures, there was no evidence to indicate that the engines could not have been restarted had the air start or the engine securing procedure checklists been accomplished and the fuel selector valves been placed in the "ON" position.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: Both pilots’ failure to use emergency checklist procedures for restarting the engine after the loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Full narrative available
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