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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN17LA092
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 30, 2017 in Jennings, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/14/2017
Aircraft: ZENITH CH750 STOL, registration: N1972C
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot had recently completed building the airplane and had flown it about 10 hours. He reported that, during that time, the airplane had experienced fuel flow issues; specifically, fuel was not flowing evenly from the wing tanks. Fuel was supplied to the engine from both tanks via gravity; the tanks were not individually selectable. To remedy the uneven fuel flows, the airplane kit manufacturer suggested that the pilot add snorkels to each vented fuel tank cap. The pilot did so; however, this did not correct the uneven fuel flow. The pilot tried several combinations before closing the vented caps completely and using only snorkels, which was the configuration of the fuel system on the day of the accident.
The pilot departed on the accident flight with 7 gallons of fuel in one tank and 8 gallons in the other. He flew for about one hour, and, while returning to the airport, he noted that the left fuel tank gauge was reading low and that the right fuel tank gauge was reading high. The engine subsequently experienced a total loss of power and the pilot performed an emergency landing in a field short of the runway.
Although the loss of engine power is consistent with fuel starvation, it could not be determined why the fuel in the right tank failed to supply the engine; nor could the underlying reason for the uneven fuel flow be determined based on the information available.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A failure of the right fuel tank to supply fuel to the engine for reasons that could not be determined, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.