NTSB Identification: CEN13CA134
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 10, 2013 in Moriarty, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/03/2013
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N6242U
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Before the accident flight, the pilot purchased 30 gallons of aviation gasoline, following which the fuel gauges indicated near half for each tank. During the accident flight, the pilot flew about 12 minutes south of the departure airport with the left fuel tank selected then turned north to return to the airport. About 5 minutes after turning north, the engine went to idle power. The pilot turned the carburetor heat on and activated the boost pump, and the engine returned to normal cruise power. The pilot indicated that, at this point, she should have switched the fuel selector valve to the right fuel tank but did not. The engine operated at cruise power for about 1 minute then quit completely. The pilot reported that because the airplane was about 1,500 feet above ground level and changing the fuel selector valve requires moving the pilot seat back about 18 inches “with no control of the aircraft,” she decided to perform a forced landing on a farm road directly ahead. During the landing, the right wing struck a fence post, and the airplane subsequently came to rest in a plowed field. Both wings sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that the accident was caused by fuel starvation and that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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 cruise flight due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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