On June 1, 2012, about 1600 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Cessna A185F airplane, N1795R, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, following a loss of engine power, near Skwentna, Alaska. The private pilot and sole passenger were not injured. The flight was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal cross-country flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan was filed and active. The flight originated from a private lake about 1545, and was destined to Anchorage, Alaska. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot stated that after departure, about 8 miles south of the lake, at an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet mean sea level, the engine RPM began to drop. He turned on the auxiliary fuel boost pump, and the engine RPM rose briefly, but then dropped again. Unable to restart the engine, he selected an area of sparsely treed marsh, and executed an emergency approach and landing. Upon landing, the left wing contacted trees, sustaining substantial damage.
He stated that he did not remember checking the fuel selector valve as part of his emergency restart procedures.
The pilot said that during preflight, he noted that the right wing fuel tank contained about 32 gallons of fuel, and the left wing fuel tank held about 5 gallons. He said that he always flies the airplane with the fuel selector valve in the "Both Tanks" position. However, during a postaccident inspection by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the fuel selector valve was found in the "Left Tank Only" position. No other preaccident mechanical anomalies were found during the inspection, and the inspector was able to drain approximately one gallon of fuel from the left wing fuel tank.
The manufacturer's published procedures in the Pilot's Operating Handbook, Section I - OPERATING CHECKLIST, Page 1-5, BEFORE TAKEOFF checklist states, “(2) Fuel Selector Valve (if installed) -- BOTH ON.”
The manufacturer’s published procedures in the Pilot's Operating Handbook, Section III - EMERGENCY PROCEDURES, Page 3-3, EMERGENCY LANDING WITHOUT ENGINE POWER checklist states, "If an engine stoppage occurs, establish a flaps up glide at 80 MPH. If time permits, attempt to restart the engine by checking for fuel quantity, proper fuel selector valve position, and mixture control setting."
A postaccident engine run was performed by the pilot's mechanic. The engine was operated approximately eight minutes at cruise power, with the fuel still remaining in the airplane's left wing fuel tank. The engine ran normally for the entire run. After the engine run, the mechanic drained approximately one additional gallon of fuel from the left wing fuel tank.
According to the pilot, the airplane had been flown approximately four hours total since it's last annual inspection was completed on May 20.