NTSB Identification: ERA12LA589
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Selma, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 421B, registration: N1537T
Injuries: 4 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 stated that he may have unintentionally positioned both the right and left engine fuel selectors to the left main fuel tank during the accident flight. When the right engine experienced a total loss of engine power during cruise flight, the pilot moved its fuel selector to right main fuel tank; however, the pilot did not select the fuel boost pump to "low" per the checklist and as a result, the system may have provided too much fuel to the engine for a restart. The left engine then lost partial power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a dirt road about 6 miles from the intended destination airport. Both fuel selectors were found positioned to the left main fuel tank, but the pilot also indicated he positioned the left fuel selector to the left auxiliary fuel tank at some point.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the right main fuel tank had been compromised during the accident sequence; however, there was no evidence of fuel at the accident site. The right auxiliary fuel tank contained about 20 gallons of fuel and the right wing locker fuel tank was empty. The left main fuel tank, left wing locker fuel tank, and left auxiliary fuel tank were intact and did not contain any fuel.

Examination of the airplane and both engines did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. Although the airplane was not completely exhausted of fuel, operating with such low quantities would have required precise fuel management and fuel selector positions.

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 total loss of engine power on the right engine and a partial loss of engine power on the left engine due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

Index for Sep2012 | Index of months