CEN11LA001
CEN11LA001

On October 3, 2010, approximately 1100 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172D, N2593, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following a loss of engine power during takeoff from Animas Airpark (00C), Durango, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and passenger on board the airplane sustained minor injuries. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident, and was en route to Page (PGA), Arizona.

In a telephone interview, the pilot stated that whereas he had considerable experience in Cessna 172s, this was an older "D" model and a rental airplane. He had never flown He and his wife had flown from PGA to 00C two days before without incident and they were returning home. The pilot said he took off from runway 19 and when the airplane had climbed about 200 feet and was at midfield, the engine lost power. The pilot pushed the nose over to maintain airspeed and made a forced landing in a river bottom.

According to the pilot's accident report, the fuel tanks were full and a preflight inspection was accomplished with no anomalies noted. Prior to takeoff, the mixture was leaned for maximum takeoff power, the fuel selector was positioned on both tanks, the flaps were set to 10 degrees, and the magnetos were checked. The first takeoff attempt was aborted when the passenger's door popped open. The pilot taxied back to the end of the runway, closed the door, and began the takeoff. The airplane was rotated about halfway down runway 19 (5,010 feet long). After climbing about 200 feet, the engine "sputtered a little, followed by silence!" The pilot said there was no remaining runway on which to land and he was committed to "going off the cliff at the south end of the mesa (the airport is situated on top of a mesa). The pilot enriched the mixture and applied carburetor heat. The engine "sputtered again like it wanted to run, then went silent." The pilot said he shut the fuel off, leaned the mixture, and turned off the master switch. The pilot cleared a power line by dropping 20 degrees of flaps and using up elevator. The airplane hit a brush pile in a flat attitude and bounced 40 feet.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Salt Lake City Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) went to the accident site.
He interviewed the pilot and the fixed base operator (FBO). The inspector said he found the fuel selector in the BOTH position. The pilot has said he turned the fuel selector to the OFF position.

In a telephone interview, the pilot stated that although he had considerable experience in Cessna 172s, this was an older "D" model and a rental airplane. He had never flown the Cessna 172D before.

The fuel selector on recent model 172s’ has the left tank in the 9 o’clock position, the right tank in the 3 o’clock position, both tanks in the 12 o’clock position, and the off position in the 6 o’clock position. Earlier model 172s had an L-shaped selector handle with a long hand and a short hand.

On December 30, 2010, the engine was functionally tested at the facilities of Air Transport in Phoenix, Arizona. No anomalies were noted and full power was achieved.

Asked how this accident could have been prevented, it pilot responded in the accident report: "Stick to flying my own airplane."

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