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N31559 accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 37.832500°N, 97.370000°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Valley Center, KS
38.043904°N, 98.968153°W
88.3 miles away
Tail number N31559
Accident date 26 Jan 2008
Aircraft type Phillips Flite Bike
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 26, 2008, approximately 1330 central standard time, a Phillips Flite Bike, N31559, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during a forced landing near Harrison Airport (private strip), Valley Center, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the accident report form submitted by the pilot, the airplane preflight and engine start were normal. He reported that he was waiting for a "flight partner" to arrive for a local flight. While he was waiting, he shut the engine down and turned the left fuel tank valve to the off position. He stated that he became distracted once his flight partner had arrived, as his flight partner was having difficulties with his engine. Shortly thereafter, the pilot restarted his engine and he departed for his local flight. After the departure, the engine lost power. He stated that he lowered the nose to achieve "maximum" airspeed and maneuvered the airplane to avoid several trees. He "could feel the airplane sinking and stalling" and did not have enough "altitude, time, and airspeed to recover." The left wing impacted the ground followed by the nose of the airplane. Both wings were crushed aft and wrinkled. The empennage separated partially and was bent to the right.

An examination of the airplane systems conducted by an airworthiness inspector with the Wichita Federal Aviation Administration revealed no anomalies. The inspector noted that the fuel valve was in the off position. The pilot reported that he "failed to turn on the left fuel tank valve." He stated that he had 7 minutes of fuel in the header tank; just enough to start the engine, taxi, and takeoff.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during an emergency descent resulting in an inadvertent stall/mush. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to turn on the fuel tank valve resulting in fuel starvation and the loss of engine power.

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