FTW97LA293
FTW97LA293

On July 31, 1997 at 0745 central daylight time a Bauer, Vans RV-4 experimental, amateur built airplane, N37RV, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power, near Seminole, Texas. The commercial instrument rated pilot and his passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight which was conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane had taken off less than five minutes earlier from Gaines County Airport, Seminole, Texas, and was en route to Yoakum County Airport, Plains, Texas, when the accident occurred.

The pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that the aircraft departed from runway 17. The pilot stated that he leveled the airplane approximately 600 to 800 feet AGL. After scanning the instruments, the pilot switched the fuel selector from the right tank to the left tank, and the engine lost power. The pilot reported that he failed to "line the fuel selector valve correctly and therefore [caused] fuel starvation to the engine." The pilot attempted to restart the engine by correctly lining up the fuel selector valve, applying full throttle, full rich mixture and engaging the boost pump, but was unsuccessful. The pilot was unable to attempt a second restart due to his low altitude. A forced landing was executed to a road in a residential area.

The FAA inspector who examined the airplane at the site reported that the airplane struck a power line about 50 feet AGL which sliced through a portion of the left wing. The airplane slid across an asphalt road sideways and struck two 6 inch diameter metal fence posts coming to rest upright. The landing gear collapsed under the airplane. The right wing leading edge was crushed in by one post, and the tail section was folded forward toward the cockpit.

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