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N5284C accident description

Arkansas map... Arkansas list
Crash location 34.328334°N, 92.350833°W
Nearest city Sheridan, AR
34.307041°N, 92.401265°W
3.2 miles away
Tail number N5284C
Accident date 01 Jan 2004
Aircraft type Mooney M20R
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 1, 2004, approximately 1515 central standard time, a Mooney M20R single-engine airplane, N5284C, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while diverting to the Sheridan Municipal Airport (9M8), near Sheridan, Arkansas. The instrument-rated private pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight departed Walnut Ridge Regional Airport (ARG), near Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, approximately 1400, and was destined for the Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport (BRO), near Brownsville, Texas.

The 4,800-hour pilot reported on the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that the fuel tanks were topped-off with 82 gallons at ARG. One hour into the flight from ARG to BRO, the pilot stated that he "switched to the right tank, and about 5 minutes later the engine stopped." I went back to the left tank and tried to restart the engines several times. At one time I got 14-15 inches of manifold pressure for a few seconds, and then it stopped again." Subsequently, the pilot declared an emergency and was vectored by the air traffic controller toward 9M8; however, the airplane was unable to make the runway.

Information obtained from the Little Rock Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) indicated that the pilot reported the airplane's engine was "running rough," and he was diverting to 9M8. In addition, the pilot reported that he had the airfield in sight and was landing. However, the airplane landed in a wooded area of "stumps and branches," about 2.5 miles northeast of 9M8.

The Sheridan Airport is located 129 nautical miles Southwest of ARG. Little Rock (LIT) forecasted winds aloft at 1200Z from 245 degrees at 38 knots for 5,000 feet and 225 degrees at 38 knots for 9,000 feet.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed the right wing was buckled and the tail section was torn/twisted 180 degrees. The FAA inspector further reported that the right fuel tank contained approximately 25 gallons of fuel, and the left fuel tank was empty. The fuel selector valve was observed to be in the "LEFT" tank position.

On February 24, 2004, an examination of the engine was conducted at a maintenance facility in Mena, Arkansas, under the supervision of an FAA inspector. From a test truck, the engine ran for 10 minutes, with no anomalies.

NTSB Probable Cause

The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's improper positioning of the fuel tank selector. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

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