NTSB Identification: WPR12LA185
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 27, 2012 in Cloverdale, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2013
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N80SV
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot reported that during the initial climb, about 2,000 feet above the ground, he switched to the auxiliary fuel tank and the engine lost power. He applied full throttle and mixture, as well as established a glideslope to return to the airport. The airplane descended faster than the pilot expected and impacted terrain short of the runway. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The right, left, and auxiliary fuel tanks were all about a quarter full. The airplane flight manual states that the fuel selector valve should be on the main tank containing the most fuel during takeoff and landing. The auxiliary tank should only be used in level flight. During a climb, with the auxiliary fuel tank about one-quarter full, it is likely that fuel within the tank was insufficient to exit the tank through the fuel feed and therefore starved the engine of fuel.

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

The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power during climb due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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