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N8346E accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Gresham, OR
45.498176°N, 122.431480°W
Tail number N8346E
Accident date 21 Mar 2001
Aircraft type Mooney M20A
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On March 21, 2001, approximately 1329 Pacific standard time (PST), a Mooney M20A, N8346E, registered to and being operated by Martin Specialties, Inc., and being flown by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged during a collision with trees and terrain while executing a forced landing following a power loss on descent into the Troutdale Airport, Troutdale, Oregon. The pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14CFR91, and originated from Tracy, California.

The pilot reported (in a written statement by his daughter, see attached NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he departed Tracy Municipal (TCY) approximately 1010 PST destined for Troutdale Airport. The flight was being operated as a delivery flight to the new owner, and the straight-line distance between Tracy and Troutdale was measured as approximately 470 nautical miles.

The pilot could not remember how much fuel was in the aircraft prior to departing Tracy and he did not stop for fuel en route to Troutdale. He reported in the statement, "...[the] fuel tanks had no readable method to measure fuel from [the] filling points..." and also believed that both wing tanks were full and that "...[the] auxiliary tank sounded full...." Later in his statement he reported, "...at the time of realization that fuel was not going to last [a] report [was] made to Troutdale airport..." and "...having lost 80 feet of glide path when the fuel ended, [the] pilot decided to take trees to keep from injuring people on the ground...."

The aircraft was several miles south of the Troutdale airport when the engine lost all power. The pilot executed an emergency landing to a golf course approximately 2.5 nautical miles south of the Troutdale Airport.

On-site examination of the aircraft's fuel system by an inspector from the Hillsboro Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Standards District Office revealed six ounces of fuel in each wing tank and less than one gallon in the auxiliary tank. The four-position (Left-Right-Aux-OFF) fuel selector was observed to be set on the "LEFT" tank position. Emergency medical personnel had removed the pilot from the site; however, the inspector interviewed the police officer from the Gresham Police Department who interviewed the pilot immediately after the accident. The inspector reported that the officer was told by the pilot that he "...couldn't understand how he could have run out of gas but when the engine quit he switched tanks and tried everything he could but the engine wouldn't start. All his fuel gauges read empty..." (refer to attached statement).

The 1959 Mooney M20A was equipped with a 17.5 gallon fuel tank in each wing and a 14 gallon auxiliary tank in the fuselage.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate decision in which he failed to refuel while en route, resulting in fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power.

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