NTSB Identification: ANC12LA046
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 01, 2012 in Skwentna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA A185F, registration: N1795R
Injuries: 2 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 private pilot and one passenger departed from a lake on a personal cross country flight. During the pilot’s preflight check, he noted that the right wing fuel tank contained about 32 gallons of fuel, and the left wing fuel tank contained about 5 gallons of fuel. About 8 miles south of the departure lake, at an altitude of about 2,000 feet mean sea level, the airplane’s engine lost power. The pilot said that he turned on the fuel boost pump, and the engine rpm rose momentarily but dropped again. He stated that he did not recall checking the fuel selector valve as part of his emergency restart procedures. He executed a forced landing in a marsh.

The pilot stated that he always operated the airplane with the fuel selector valve in the “Both Tanks On” position; however, a postaccident inspection of the airplane revealed that the airplane’s fuel selector valve was in the “Left Tank Only” position. A postaccident engine run revealed no mechanical anomalies with the engine, and it operated normally at all power settings. An annual inspection of the airplane was completed on May 20, 2012, and the airplane had flown approximately four hours since the inspection.

Both the normal “Before Takeoff” and the “Emergency Landing without Engine Power” checklists direct the pilot to check the fuel selector valve position. Given the lack of mechanical deficiencies with the airplane's engine and the discovery of the fuel selector valve in the “Left Tank Only” position, it is likely that the pilot did not check the fuel selector valve either during his preflight or after the loss of engine power. Considering the amount of fuel noted in the left wing fuel tank during the pilot’s preflight, it is also likely that the engine lost power due to fuel starvation.

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

The pilot's improper fuel management, which resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power in cruise flight. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to follow the checklist after the loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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