The airplane experienced a total loss of engine power during a skydiving flight. After the pilot switched the fuel tank selector from the left fuel tank to the right fuel tank position, the engine restarted. The pilot continued the flight. While returning to the departure airport and preparing for landing, the pilot switched the fuel tank selector back to the left fuel tank position because the fuel gauge indicated a greater fuel quantity.
The pilot said that he normally flew the airplane with the fuel selector positioned to the right main fuel tank during skydiving operations. However, on the day of the accident, maintenance was performed on the airplane, and three engine run-ups were performed using the left main fuel tank.
The pilot of the skydiving airplane was performing the first takeoff of the day, and he had just raised the landing gear when the airplane experienced a complete loss of power in one of its two engines. There was still runway remaining, and the pilot made the decision to abort the takeoff.
The pilot reported that shortly after reaching an altitude of 400 feet agl after takeoff, the engine quit suddenly. He immediately pumped the throttle two times, and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump, but this did not restore engine power. He made a hard forced landing in an industrial park near the airport.
According to the pilot, after the four parachute jumpers exited the airplane, and as he maneuvered the airplane for a landing, the engine lost power. Initial efforts by the pilot to restore full power were unsuccessful, however as the pilot continued, the engine regained partial power. The pilot entered a straight approach for runway 18
The flight departed with approximately 20 gallons of fuel in each fuel tank and offloaded skydivers at 10,500 feet, then descended to return with the throttle at idle, the fuel/air ratio leaned; and carburetor heat applied. At 2,000 feet, the pilot began to level off and, “realized I was having engine trouble and began my emergency procedures for an engine failure at altitude….”
During takeoff for the sport parachute operation, the engine sputtered and quit, and the pilot landed the airplane in a residential yard. Examination revealed that fuel flow through the fuel selector valve was restricted. The fuel selector was disassembled, and the O-rings for the left side were found swelled.
The aircraft crashed about 600 feet short of the threshold of the runway. Witnesses observed that the engine had been ‘cutting in and out’ before the crash. A photograph taken at the crash site showed the fuel selector handle displaced between the left main position and the both position.
The wing flaps jammed in the mid range position. The parachutist on board exited the airplane and the pilot returned for a landing. He extended the traffic pattern and while on base leg, the engine lost power. He was unable to get the engine restarted and was beyond gliding distance to the airport. The pilot executed an off airport landing in a field, downwind. The faa reported the flaps were jammed due to a broken flap support on the inboard left flap track and the engine was test run satisfactory after the accident. Fuel was reported to be at the 1/4 level. The power loss was attributed to the fuel selector being improperly position.
The pic had been airborne in the lcl area to let parachute jumpers jump fm his acft. To lose alt quickly the pic performed a prolonged slip. On the final app the eng quit and alt was insufficient to reach the rwy for lndg. The off arpt lndg was unsuccessful. The pic stated that the poss cause of the acc was improper fuel flow resulting fm the slip and the abbormal attitude associated with it. It was also imcumbant upon the pic for a safe lndg to have selected the proper fuel posn by referring to the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual cautions abt proper fuel selector positioning. Fuel selector on ‘both’ is required for all but straight and level flt. The fuel selector was found posnd to ‘off’ during insp of the acft and 10 gal of fuel was found in the rt tank. No fuel was found in the left tank.
The acft crashed after a loss of eng power occurred when the plt was returning from transporting sky divers to altitude for a jump. The plt reported he ran the rt fuel tank out of fuel & failed to switch tanks
After discharging sky divers, plt was concentrating on max rate of descent, eng pwr at idle, when fuel tank in use ran day. Pwr loss not noted until throttle applied for level off. Switch to usable fuel tank and restart attempt initiated with insufficient remaining altitude for successful result. Forced landing executed on freeway off ramp.