On August 26, 2009, approximately 1225 central daylight time, a Weber Pelican PL, N713DW, piloted by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following a loss of engine power shortly after taking off from Searcy, Arkansas, Municipal Airport (SRC). Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. The local test flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot’s accident report, all preflight and pre-takeoff checks were accomplished and he took off on runway 19 for a local test flight. After climbing approximately 500 feet with about 1,000 to 1,500 feet of runway remaining, the engine “missed once” and lost power. He lowered the nose to maintain airspeed and made a forced landing in a field at the end of the runway. Upon touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane skidded a few feet before coming to a stop.

An FAA airworthiness inspector went to the scene and reported finding the fuel selector in the OFF position. He said the pilot thought it was in the ON position. The inspector said the design of the fuel selector handle was poor because the “tail” of the selector handle was in the OFF position. A 180-degree twist of the handle would have placed it in the ON position.

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