NTSB Identification: ERA12LA295
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 20, 2012 in Yorktown, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY A36, registration: N821SM
Injuries: 2 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 airplane was in cruise flight at 7,000 feet when the engine lost power. The pilot requested vectors to the nearest airport but determined the airplane would not reach the requested landing site. He selected a forced landing site on a corporate complex and completed the forced landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the airplane. During the descent, he stated that he performed remedial actions in accordance with the checklist and switched the fuel selector from the right tank position to the left tank. Later, the pilot stated that he did not consult a checklist, but performed emergency action items "from memory." He added that the engine would surge during the descent but would not produce sufficient power to maintain altitude. A witness stated that he saw the airplane at low altitude near the campus and described the engine sound as surging between idle and "extremely high rpm." He said that the engine sounded as though it was "starving for fuel." Examination of the airplane revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies. The fuel selector was found in a position between the left tank and right tank detents. A detailed examination revealed continuity of the fuel system, unobstructed fuel lines and filters, and an operational fuel selector. The engine was removed from the airplane and placed in a test cell, where it started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption. The engine run revealed no anomalies that would have prevented normal operation and the production of rated power.

A warning in the airplane manufacturer's Pilot's Operating Handbook stated:

"POSITION [Fuel] SELECTOR IN DETENTS ONLY – NO FUEL FLOW TO ENGINE BETWEEN DETENTS"

It is likely that the pilot moved the fuel selector during cruise flight but did not ensure that it was seated correctly in the detent. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost power. Because the pilot did not perform the requisite emergency procedures, he did not recognize that the fuel selector was not seated properly.

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

The pilot's improper placement of the fuel selector, which resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to perform the published emergency procedure by the checklist.

Full narrative available

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