NTSB Identification: WPR11FA333
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Glendale, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2014
Aircraft: DAVIDSON ZENITH STOL CH701, registration: N701RD
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 pilot had been flying in the traffic pattern before landing, shutting down, and subsequently taking on a passenger for a short flight. Witnesses reported that, after takeoff, the airplane reached an altitude of 500 feet and that the engine then sputtered and lost power. The airplane then turned steeply left and descended rapidly. The airplane partially rolled out of the turn, but the descent rate was not arrested, and the airplane subsequently impacted terrain. Witnesses responded to the accident site and heard the fuel pump operating; however, they did not see or smell fuel in the area.
The left wing root fuel valve was found in the “off” position, and the right wing root fuel valve was found nearly in the “off” position. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that both fuel tanks were nearly full with fuel. However, the fuel hoses removed downstream of the fuel valves were found empty. No evidence was found of a mechanical malfunction or failure with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. If the pilot had performed a preflight or run-up inspection before takeoff, which would have included checking the fuel valve positions, he might have noted that the fuel valves were in the “off” position. The toxicology results indicated the pilot had used lorazepam (an antianxiety medication); however, due to the low levels detected, it is unlikely that it was impairing at the time of the accident. It could not be determined whether the underlying medical condition caused impairment and contributed to the accident.
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 and the pilot’s subsequent failure to maintain airplane control during the forced landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to ensure that the fuel valves were in the correct position for flight during the preflight inspection. Full narrative available
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