NYC01LA044
NYC01LA044

On November 28, 2000, about 1245 Eastern Standard Time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N8268R, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Zanesville, Ohio. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The ferry flight was on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane had recently experienced a collapsed nose landing gear during landing, and then a collapsed right main landing gear during maintenance, with the airplane not in motion. The pilot was issued a special flight permit to ferry the airplane with the landing gear locked down, from Rockford, Illinois, to Reading, Pennsylvania, where it was to receive further work. The special flight permit expired on November 27; however, the pilot was unable to complete the flight by that date due to weather and initiated the flight on the 28th.

The pilot reported that he departed Rockford, Illinois, with full tanks. The left wing main tank was used for takeoff and initial climb. At the top of climb, the left wing auxiliary fuel tank was selected and used until there was about 5 gallons remaining in the tank. The fuel selector was then positioned to the right wing auxiliary fuel tank.

The pilot further reported that upon arriving in the Zanesville area, the airplane was descended to 3,000 feet. At that time, the airplane was clear of clouds and the pilot cancelled his IFR clearance. The pilot continued his descent, and as the airplane passed through 2,500 feet, the engine experienced a power loss, while still operating on the right wing auxiliary fuel tank. The pilot switched tanks, and pumped the throttle; however, he was unable to restart the engine. The pilot then selected a field for landing. Power lines were located between the airplane and the field the pilot had selected. To avoid the power lines, the pilot kept the airplane low and struck a fence. The airplane then crossed a road and stuck an embankment. The airplane came to rest with the left main landing gear and nose landing gear separated from the airplane. In addition, the left wing outboard of the left wing auxiliary tank was also sheared off.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated:

"...At 2,200 [ft] MSL and about 8 mi from ZZV engine quit. I could not restart by selecting a different tank. Since I had about 1,300 [ft] AGL, I had very little time to fly, restart attempt, and find satisfactory landing site."

"The terrain was hilly with many trees and power lines. My 1st priority was not to stall. I landed as flat as I could at 90 degrees to a county road. My landing gear caught cattle fence under telephone pole lines."

A FAA inspector further reported that his examination of the airplane revealed that all fuel tanks were intact, and there was no evidence of fuel leakage or siphoning. There was no fuel in the right wing auxiliary tank, and useable fuel was found in both main tanks and the left wing auxiliary tank. No fuel was found in the fuel line from the firewall to the fuel control unit, or from the fuel control unit to the fuel injection manifold. When the electric boost pump was turned on, fuel flowed through the firewall, to the fuel control unit. There was no evidence of blockage in the fuel control unit or the fuel lines on either side of it.

All fuel tanks were in the wings. The two inboard main fuel tanks held 17 gallons each, and the two outboard auxiliary fuel tanks held 15.5 gallons each.

According to the FAA approved flight manual:

"...Use fuel from auxiliary tanks in level flight only. If a tank is run completely dry, it is necessary to switch the selector valve to a tank containing ample fuel and then turn the low boost pump "ON". (Up Position). The auxiliary fuel pump must be turned "ON" in order to insure fuel flow to the engine. If ample fuel is available and low boost is used, an air restart should occur in less than 10 seconds. Normal engine restart can be accomplished without changing the throttle or mixture control positions. The auxiliary fuel pump is not required for normal operation after engine power is restored...."

The NTSB Form 6120.1/2, Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, Operator/Owner Safety Recommendation, the pilot stated, "Pilot should do a better job of managing fuel selector."

When asked why he did not turn on the auxiliary fuel pump, the pilot reported that he was aware of it, but after he changed fuel tanks, he had to focus his attention on flying the airplane, and to the immanent forced landing. He said he did not have time to think about restarting the engine.

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