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On April 10, 2010, about 1735 mountain daylight time, a Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam P2002 Sierra, N797TS, lost all engine power on final approach to the Bolinder Field-Tooele Valley Airport, Tooele, Utah. During the private pilot's forced landing, the airplane collided with a fence several hundred feet short of runway 35. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the pilot was not injured. The light sport airplane was registered to Northvale Properties, LLC, Salt Lake City, Utah, and it was operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and it originated from Salt Lake City about 1710.
The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he had performed a preflight inspection of his airplane before departing on the accident flight. Initially during the 25-minute-long accident flight, no anomalies were noted. As the pilot approached his destination (uncontrolled) airport he had to extend the downwind leg portion of the traffic pattern because of inbound traffic. The pilot stated that he performed the before-landing check list, which included turning on the electric fuel pump.
The pilot further reported to the Safety Board investigator that when he joined the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, all engine power was suddenly lost. Although he retracted the wing flaps and attained the best glide airspeed, the airplane was too far from the runway to successfully glide there. During the glide, he attempted to restart the engine, but he was not successful. Both of the fuel tank selectors were in the "on" position when the engine lost all power. After a few seconds, engine power was restored, but then all power was again lost. Thereafter, he concentrated on making a forced landing on the underlying terrain.
During the forced landing, the airplane impacted rough terrain and fence poles, which punctured the lower leading edge of both wings and breached the fuel tanks. The pilot stated that he turned off the master electric switch, repositioned the fuel tank selectors to the off position, and exited the airplane.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigator interviewed the pilot on April 29 and May 4, 2010. During the interviews, the pilot stated that he had learned to fly in the accident airplane. He had flown the airplane for a total of 277 hours. During the preceding 90 days, the pilot had flown the airplane about 4 hours.
The special light sport airplane was manufactured in 2007. It was equipped with two, integral, wing fuel tanks. Fuel is pumped to the airplane’s 100 horsepower Rotax 912ULS engine via electric and engine driven fuel pumps. The engine consumes between 4.5 and 5.0 gallons per hour during normal cruise flight.
By the accident date, it had accumulated a total airframe, engine, and propeller time of about 394 hours. As indicated in the airplane's maintenance logbooks, its last 12-month condition/100-hour inspection was completed on January 15, 2010, at a total time of 390 hours, which was about 4 hours prior to the accident.
A review of the maintenance logbooks and manufacturer bulletins revealed no outstanding items. The pilot did not report any airplane system or engine-related outstanding squawks.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Airplane operation records indicate that on January 18, 2010, about 21 gallons of fuel were added to the airplane, which filled its fuel tanks. At refueling, the Hobbs meter indicated the airplane’s total time was 392.19 hours. Thereafter, the airplane flew one or two more times before the pilot departed on the accident flight. The records do not indicate that any additional fuel was placed in the airplane prior to the accident flight.
Airplane recovery personnel reported to the Safety Board investigator that they observed fuel in the airplane’s wing tanks and in wing-to-engine fuel lines. The gascolator was found broken off and was impact damaged.
The airplane was recovered from the accident site, and the airframe and engine were examined by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The FAA inspector reported that, at the time of the accident, the Hobbs meter registered 394 hours. The Safety Board investigator calculates that the engine had been operated about 2 hours since the airplane was last refueled, and it had consumed a maximum of 10 gallons of fuel. Accordingly, when the accident occurred, the airplane’s fuel tanks would have contained an estimated 16 gallons of fuel.
According to the pilot, upon departure for the 1/2-hour-long accident flight, the airplane contained about 8 gallons of fuel in its left tank, and about 7 gallons of fuel in its right tank, for a total of about 15 gallons. The fuel gauges appeared to accurately indicate that the fuel tanks were each about 1/2 full.
The airplane operator's handbook indicates that each fuel tank holds a maximum of 13.2 gallons of fuel, for a total of 26.4 gallons. Of this fuel quantity, 26.15 gallons is usable.
Under the FAA inspector’s supervision, the engine was plumbed to an auxiliary fuel source, which was routed to the airplane’s electric fuel pump. The engine was started and stopped three times. While running, no leaks were observed, and the throttle and magnetos were functionally checked. The engine appeared to operate normally. Following the FAA inspector’s examination of the airplane, he reported finding no evidence of any airworthiness issues that would preclude the airplane from operating normally.