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N739HQ accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 42.938055°N, 123.992777°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 Creswell, OR
43.917902°N, 123.024526°W
83.3 miles away
Tail number N739HQ
Accident date 21 Mar 2004
Aircraft type Cessna 172N
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On March 21, 2004, approximately 0945 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172N, N739HQ, registered to and being flown by a private pilot sustained substantial damage during a collision with trees/terrain during a forced landing following a complete loss of power on takeoff from the Creswell airport, Creswell, Oregon. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14 CFR 91, and originated from Creswell immediately prior to the accident.

The pilot reported that at the conclusion of the last flight previous to the accident flight, which took place on March 13, he parked his aircraft in a hangar and then shut the fuel off by turning the fuel selector valve in the aircraft to the "OFF" position (6 o'clock when viewed from overhead). He remarked that this was the first time in 29 years that he had shut the fuel off in the aircraft using the fuel selector.

Eight days later he arrived at the hangar and began a pre-flight of the aircraft including a visual examination of fuel in the fuel tanks during which he fell off a ladder slightly injuring himself. He did not visually check the position of the fuel selector. The pilot and passenger boarded the aircraft, the engine was started and the pilot physically (but not visually) ensured that "...the fuel selector was in a fore and aft position...." The pilot also stopped his routine to correct the improper seat belt usage by the passenger. The engine was started and the aircraft was taxied to a location where an engine run-up was conducted. Following the run-up the pilot again physically checked the fuel selector in a fore-aft orientation and then the aircraft departed from runway 33.

The pilot reported that the engine quit several hundred feet in the air and he maneuvered to the east for a forced landing in a field. During the landing roll the aircraft passed through a fence and then the left wing impacted a tree.

The pilot reported to an inspector assigned to the Hillsboro Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Standards District Office that while climbing out through about 75 feet above ground immediately after taking off on runway 33 the engine abruptly quit. The pilot reported that following the forced landing he shut the fuel off and when the FAA inspector checked the aircraft following the accident he found the fuel in the "ON" position (12 o'clock position) as opposed to the "OFF" position (6 o'clock position). The passenger reported to the FAA inspector that the fuel selector was in the 6 o'clock position when the aircraft taxied out for takeoff. The inspector found both fuel tanks full.

The fuel selector control is located on the cabin floor between the front right and left seats. Its' handle is relatively symmetrical in shape and rotates through 360 degrees (refer to Schematic I).

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's attempting takeoff with the fuel selector in the OFF position resulting in fuel starvation. Contributing factors were the change in habit pattern and expectancy of the fuel selector position as well as the fence and tree.

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