Friday, August 03, 2012

Piper PA-22-160 Tri Pacer, N3442Z: Accident occurred August 01, 2012 in McKinleyville, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12CA340
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 01, 2012 in McKinleyville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-160, registration: N3442Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot said that he had just acquired the airplane and was flying his first cross-country flight in it. He was not monitoring the fuel quantity in the left and right fuel tanks, because he thought the fuel selector was positioned to both tanks. However, the fuel selector was positioned to the left tank for the entire trip. On short final at his destination, the airplane’s engine lost power due to fuel starvation. The pilot performed a forced landing, which bent and wrinkled the fuselage and wings. The pilot had a total flight time of about 150 hours of which only 5 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s lack of experience in the accident airplane make and model and his lack of knowledge regarding the fuel system.

  Regis#: 3442Z        Make/Model: PA22      Description: PA-22 Tri-Pacer, Caribbean, Colt
  Date: 08/02/2012     Time: 0155

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

  City: MCKINLEYVILLE   State: CA   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: OAKLAND, CA  (WP27)                   Entry date: 08/02/2012 

Small plane crash in McKinleyville wounds pilot's pride 

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office released Friday the name of the Chico pilot whose small single-engine plane made an emergency landing Wednesday in McKinleyville.

Aaron Andrus, 33, piloted the plane that was attempting to land at the Arcata/Eureka Airport in McKinleyville on Wednesday night when the plane's engine quit, according to the sheriff's office.

Law enforcement officials said it was later discovered that the plane had run out of fuel. Andrus was unable to make it to the runway and instead returned to a pasture near the airport, where he made an emergency landing. Officials said he escaped the crash with a small bump on the head.

The incident was forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board for further investigation. 


A small single-engine plane crash this evening in McKinleyville left a 33-year-old Chico man with just a small bump on the head, according to local law enforcement officials.

Arcata Fire Protection District Fire Chief John McFarland said he received a call about the crash around 7 p.m. He said the pilot was from Chico, and had flown to the Arcata/Eureka Airport in McKinleyville to show off his new plane to some Humboldt County relatives.

McFarland said the pilot -- the single occupant of the plane -- was trying to take off from the airport runway when things went awry.

”When he approached the end of the runway in Arcata, the engine quit,” McFarland said.

Thinking he could make it off the runway, McFarland said the pilot took off and then made an emergency landing.

”He doubled back and landed in a field of clover that been mowed,” McFarland said.

The plane hit the ground hard, and did a little cartwheel before coming to rest upright on the field -- which is near Martin Road. McFarland said the man was shaken, but basically unhurt.

”He climbed out and had a goose-egg bump on his head,” McFarland said.

That's when the Arcata Fire Protection District, Humboldt County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol, Arcata Ambulance and an airport crash crew arrived at on scene, McFarland said.

The Federal Aviation Administration has already interviewed the pilot, McFarland said, who is fairly new to flying and had just purchased the pre-owned plane about one month ago. He said the pilot was embarrassed when it was discovered that his engine quit due to a lack of gasoline. He said the plane had one gas tank empty and one full, and that the pilot had forgotten to switch to the filled tank.

A press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department said the pilot was treated and released on scene. The investigation has been turned over to the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board for further investigation.

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