On June 25, 2001, about 1500 central daylight time, a Bellanca 14-13-3, N29C, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field near Pierce, Nebraska. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot did not report any injuries. The flight originated from the Creighton Municipal Airport, Creighton, Nebraska about 1400 and was en route to the Karl Stefan Memorial Airport, Norfolk, Nebraska. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot did not initially report the accident to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft was moved from the accident site prior to NTSB or FAA notification. The first contact with the pilot was by an FAA Inspector on July 2, 2001. The pilot did not submit a report of the accident to the NTSB until July 24, 2001.
In his written statement the pilot said, "Departed from Clark [South Dakota] about 10 am on 6-25-01 with strong headwinds. About 30 min into flight fuel pressure became erratic. Using wobble pump to assist in maintaining fuel pressure landed at nearest airport. Found kinked aluminum fuel line from gascolator to fuel pump. Replaced with MILH6000 hose checked operation OK. Took off switched tanks and resume course for home. After 1 hour switched fuel tanks again and engine quit after 15 minutes of operation. Reselected prior tank and engine restarted. Landed at nearest airport Creighton (6K3). Verify left tank empty right tank 2/3 full. Discovered fuel selector placard installed incorrectly. Took off again heading to Stefan Memorial [Airport] (OFK) Norfolk, NE. 15 min later lost fuel pressure and engine quit tried to use wobble pump but was not working. Attempted to land on highway but could not make it. Landed in pasture avoiding telephone wires impacted a [berm] which bounced the aircraft up on to its nose resulting in the landing gear drag braces failing. Time now approx 3 o'clock pm."
In his report, the pilot stated that he had 11.3 hours of flight experience in the accident make and model of aircraft. He also stated that there were 15 gallons of fuel on board at the last takeoff and the fuel type was automotive. The aircraft was not approved for the use of automobile fuel.
An examination of the airplane failed to reveal any anomalies that could be associated with a pre-impact condition. The fuel selector was examined and was found to be working correctly and the fuel selector placard was installed correctly.
FAA publication "FLIGHT SENSE" - FAA-P-8740-1 states under the heading "KNOW YOUR AIRCRAFT: Its Limitations - Performance - Systems - Switches - Emergency Procedures - Endurance - Loading", "Lack of familiarity with the aircraft is the cause of a large percentage of pilot error accidents. Pilot unfamiliarity with the aircraft's performance, capabilities, equipment, and systems is listed as a cause or contributing factor in many accidents. Fuel exhaustion, stall, spin, forgotten or retracted gear, undershoot, overshoot, hard landing, and improper use of emergency systems are high on the list of accident causes, yet all of these can result from pilot unfamiliarity with the aircraft and equipment. Periodically reread your aircraft handbook, know the aircraft systems, how to operate them, and what to do in the event of a system malfunction or failure. Know how to conserve fuel. Know the procedure to follow for engine failure and, above all, know and remember how your aircraft handles during flight in high temperatures and when loaded to maximum allowable gross weight. When an emergency occurs in flight, there is little time to decide the proper action to be taken. You need to have an established plan of action and a thorough knowledge of your aircraft before an actual incident occurs."