NTSB Identification: ERA12LA206
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 03, 2012 in Amisville, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: MOONEY M20M, registration: N486KC
Injuries: 2 Serious.
NTSB investigators may 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 cruising in smooth, clear air at 9,000 feet. About 30 minutes from the destination airport, the pilot descended the airplane to 5,000 feet and into moderate-to-severe turbulence. The airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot pushed the throttle forward, which activated the airplane's fuel boost pump and positioned the mixture to full rich, but the engine did not regain power. The pilot stated that each fuel tank was half-full at the time. He further stated that he did not switch tanks as he was preoccupied with where to land the airplane. The pilot thought the right fuel tank was selected when the power loss occurred, but he could not be certain. Due to mountainous terrain, the pilot could not glide the airplane to an airport, and he performed a forced landing to a field.
The pilot didn't believe the loss of engine power was a mechanical failure as there was no engine roughness preceding the event. He believed that it was a fuel or air issue, possibly related to the severe turbulence that he had descended into. The airplane did not fly through any clouds or precipitation during the descent or prior to the power loss. Postcrash fire consumed a majority of the wreckage, including the cockpit and wing fuel tanks, which precluded an examination of the fuel and induction systems. The fuel selector was identified and observed in the left main fuel tank position, but the preimpact position of the fuel selector could not be positively determined.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A total loss of engine power during cruise flight for reasons that could not be determined because of the damage due to the postcrash fire. Full narrative available
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