February 15, Casey, Ill. / Piper Apache


At 1440 central time, a Piper PA-23-160 was damaged in a forced landing right after takeoff from Casey Municipal Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The flight had departed Wadsworth, Ohio, and was destined for Durant, Okla., with a fuel stop in Greenville, Ill. While in cruise flight at 6,500 feet, the pilot repositioned the right fuel selector from the main tank to the auxiliary tank. At that time, the fuel selector handle was stiff and hard to move. After about 30 seconds, the engine began to surge. He switched the fuel back to the main tank but the fluctuations continued. He elected to crossfeed from the left tank and the power returned to normal. He then turned off the crossfeed and the engine ran normally from the right main tank. About an hour and a half later, the left engine began to surge and the pilot landed at Casey. The pilot checked the fuel visually and ground-tested the engines on each tank. He found no anomalies and refueled the airplane. The pilot said he found no evidence of fuel contamination and concluded that the initial loss of power occurred because he had momentarily positioned the right fuel selector in the off position prior to selecting the auxiliary tank. He conducted an extensive runup and found all operations normal. He elected to depart and, just after rotation, the right engine began to surge. He continued to climb and intended to return to the airport but the left engine began to surge as well. He was unable to control the airplane because of the random power fluctuations from both engines and the airplane crashed. Inspection revealed the fuel selector valves to both sides were in an intermediate position, which would have rendered them closed, due to seized cables between the selector handles and the valves.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here