CEN12CA051
CEN12CA051

The pilot was on a cross-country flight at 9,500 feet mean sea level. Approximately 20 miles from his destination he started the descent to the airport. The pilot reported that he looked at his fuel gauge and decided to switch fuel tanks when reaching 5,000 feet. As he leveled the airplane off, the engine lost power. He turned on the fuel pump and attempted to turn the fuel selector knob. However, the knob broke in half, leaving just the post. Unable to turn the post and re-start the engine, the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing in an open area. During the forced landing, the left wing was nearly severed in two by an impact with a tree, the landing gear collapsed, and the fuselage sustained substantial damage. After the accident, the pilot added that he mistakenly turned the fuel gauge selector knob and not the fuel selector knob, then got distracted by the knob breaking.

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