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N414AY accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 36.208333°N, 115.191666°W
Nearest city Las Vegas, NV
36.174971°N, 115.137223°W
3.8 miles away
Tail number N414AY
Accident date 26 Nov 2006
Aircraft type Cessna 414A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On November 26, 2006, about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 414A, N414AY, experienced a loss of power in the right engine and collided with a fence during a precautionary landing in a residential neighborhood about 2 miles from the North Las Vegas Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed. The personal cross-country flight originated from the San Luis County Regional Airport, San Luis Obispo, California, about 1330, with a planned destination of North Las Vegas.

The pilot spoke with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) immediately following the accident. He stated that during his preflight planning he determined the flight's duration to be about 1 hour 40 minutes. Based on this estimation, he calculated that he would land with 45 gallons of fuel on board, split between the right and left fuel tanks.

The pilot further stated that as he neared the destination airport, he configured the airplane for 110 knots, to give adequate spacing to an airplane cleared to land ahead of him. The pilot noted that the airplane had the landing gear extended, the wing flaps extended 30 degrees, and the spoilers fully deployed. With the airplane between 300 to 500 feet above ground level (agl) on final approach, the airplane yawed right and he noticed the right engine had experienced a loss of power. He immediately closed the spoilers and retracted the flaps to 15 degrees, but the airplane was not able to sustain level flight. As the airplane continued to descend, the pilot banked right and attempted to land on a residential street. The left wing collided with a fence and erupted in flames.

In a later interview with the Safety Board IIC, the pilot stated that following the engine failure he immediately verified that the right fuel selector was positioned on the right fuel tank; he never looked at the left fuel selector. He could not recall the positions of the fuel selectors during the flight. He stated that he usually operates with the left fuel selector positioned on the left engine and the right fuel selector positioned on the right engine. He estimated that the airplane usually burns about 35 to 40 gallons per hour.

A representative from the company that recovered the airplane provided a written statement to the Safety Board IIC. He reported that immediately following the accident, he attempted to drain the right wing's fuel tanks. About 1 gallon of fuel remained in the main tank, with the nacelle tank completely empty; the tanks appeared to be intact.

He further stated that the right engine remained attached to the airframe and appeared intact. The fuel drain for the fuel bowl, just aft of the nacelle, was empty. The propeller, which did not appear to have made impact with the ground, was not in the feathered position. The left engine had separated from the airplane, and came to rest behind the tail section. He added that the left propeller contained impact damage consistent with it being in the feathered position at the time of impact. He noted that the propeller blades showed evidence of being powered at impact, as they were curled and had pieces broken off the blade tips.

The flight from San Luis Obispo en route to North Las Vegas totals about 275 nautical miles.


No airplane or engine maintenance records were provided to the Safety Board IIC. A review was conducted of the material maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the Aircraft and Registry files for this airplane. The Cessna 414A multiengine airplane, serial number 414A0488, was manufactured in 1980. The airplane was originally equipped with two Teledyne Continental Motors TSIO-520-NB engines.

While no formal maintenance logbooks were submitted, the FAA files revealed the airplane had undergone a RAM conversion VII on April 27, 2004. In a telephone conversation with the Safety Board IIC, a representative from RAM Aircraft stated that he would expect the airplane to have a fuel burn rate of 19 gallons per hour per engine during normal cruise flight (at 65 percent power).


Fueling records at the San Luis Obispo airport disclosed that the aircraft was last fueled immediately prior to departure with the addition of 70 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. According to the pilot, the addition of the fuel filled the aircraft tanks to a total of 115 gallons (57.5 in each tank). The Cessna Pilot Operator's Handbook (POH) states that the total fuel capacity was 213.4 gallons, of which 202.0 gallons were usable. The pilot stated that the disposition of the fuel load between the two standard capacity main wing tanks was even.

The POH further reveals that the airplane was equipped with two fuel selectors, both of which are mechanically connected to the fuel selector valves for each engine. The selectors are located on the floor between the pilot and copilot seat. Each selector consisted of a selection for main tank fuel, crossfeed, and no fuel. The POH indicates that during normal flight operations the left and right fuel selectors are to be positioned to the "LEFT MAIN" and "RIGHT MAIN" tanks, respectively. In that configuration the fuel can flow from each main tank, through the selector, to the respective engine driven fuel pump. Fuel may be crossfed from a main tank to the engine on the other wing. When both selectors are positioned to the same tank, fuel from that tank will supply both engines.


The pilot's estimate of the airplane's fuel burn during cruise flight of 35 to 40 gallons per hour was consistent with the RAM conversion representative's estimate of about 38 gallons per hour. Based on a fuel burn rate of 38 gallons per hour and the accident flight's time en route of 1.5 hours, the total fuel burn for both engines would be 57 gallons. The pilot stated that each tank contained 57.5 gallons (115 gallons total) at the time of departure.

Based on the "Rate-of-Climb" with one engine inoperative performance chart in the POH, the airplane should have been able to obtain at least a 500-foot-per-minute climb on one engine. This calculation is based on maximum gross weight with the reported temperature of 16 degrees Celsius (the chart assumes the following conditions: 2,700 rpm, landing gear and flaps retracted, inoperative propeller feathered, wings banked 5 degrees toward the inoperative engine, and cowl flaps closed on the inoperative engine).


An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for North Las Vegas at 1453 reported winds from 110 degrees at 10 knots; visibility at 10 statute miles; temperature 16 degrees Celsius; dew point -04 degrees Celsius; and altimeter of 29.86 inHg.


An inspector from the FAA examined the airplane and engines on November 26, 2006. He stated that the left wing tip was separated from the airplane. The remaining wing portion and left engine nacelle were still attached to the fuselage. The left engine, with the propeller still affixed, was separated. The left wing and cabin-area of the fuselage sustained extensive fire damage.

He further stated that the right propeller had damage to one of the three blades, with the other two having only slight damage. The right landing gear was extended and locked. The right wing was intact with the only damage noted on the outer wing tip of the winglet, the trailing edge of the outboard flap area, and the aft portion of the nacelle behind the auxiliary fuel pump.

The inspector noted that the empennage had sustained impact damage to the right aft section of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. The exterior of the fuselage above the cabin windows, just above and aft of the pilots' seats, was incinerated to the forward doors.

The inspector found that both fuel selector valves were positioned on the right fuel tank. The left auxiliary fuel pump was in the "LOW" position and the right was on the "OFF" position. The battery and generator switches were selected "ON."

The FAA inspector removed the spark plugs from the right engine, noting that all appeared normal and consistent in wear signatures. The upper plugs were clean, while the lower plugs showed some lead deposits. All cylinders appeared to have good compression. The propeller rotated freely, confirming drive train continuity. Spark was obtained from the left magneto on all the upper spark plugs. The right magneto would not produce spark; it was dissembled and appeared normal, with no mechanical malfunctions found.

The inspector located trace amounts of fuel in the right wing sump, with the wing inclined about 15 degrees (the tip being the highest point). Residual fuel was found in the fuel filter; the filter screens were clean. No fuel was in the fuel line to the engine driven fuel pump.

NTSB Probable Cause

A loss of power in the right engine due to fuel starvation. The fuel starvation was the result of the pilot's improper fuel selector position setting.

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