FTW97LA371
FTW97LA371

On September 30, 1997, at 1530 mountain daylight time, a Siai-Marchetti F.260 airplane, N260MT, owned and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal cross country flight. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from Palm Springs, California, about 3 hours 45 minutes prior to the accident.

The pilot reported on the enclosed Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report that he fueled the airplane prior to departing Palm Springs, California, and planned to stop at Santa Rosa, New Mexico, for fuel. Approximately 20 minutes prior to the Santa Rosa Municipal Airport, at the beginning of initial descent, the airplane's engine lost power. He initiated a forced landing to a dirt road, which was located approximately 1/2 mile south of Interstate 40. During descent the he "attempted a restart w/opposite wing tank selected;" however, the engine did not start. The pilot further reported that his "last fuel check indicated 1/8 - 1/4 fuel in both wing tanks, wing tip tanks empty."

Examination of the accident site by two FAA inspectors revealed that during the landing roll, the aircraft's nose landing gear impacted a ditch separating its wheel. The aircraft continued across the dirt road, crossed another ditch and nosed over to the inverted position.

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspectors revealed that the vertical stabilizer's aft spar was fractured. The right wing's spar was buckled and cracked two feet from the wing tip. The left and right wing tip tanks were damaged, and the fuselage was wrinkled. The nose landing gear was separated at the fork, and the right main landing gear was collapsed.

Examination of the aircraft's fuel system revealed that the fuel selector was found in the left tip tank position. The main fuel tanks and the wing tip tanks were "void of fuel," and "there were not any fuel stains on the aircraft or the ground." The carburetor fuel bowl had approximately 0.5 ounce of fuel, and residual fuel was found in the fuel line to the gascolator and the gascolator.

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