A Beale Air Force Base training pilot has sued the Beale Aero Club, blaming it for a plane crash two years ago.

Maj. James Grogan filed his case this week in Yuba County Superior Court against the club, its former mechanic, John Henry, and the former manager, Connie Schupe.

Grogan and a 17-year-old student pilot were in a Cessna 172F on Jan. 19, 2013, when it suddenly lost power and crashed into a field south of the Yuba County Airport.

Grogan was treated at Rideout Memorial Hospital for moderate injuries. The student pilot was not injured.

Grogan was earning more than $105,000 per year at the time of the accident, according to the lawsuit, but "as a result of the injuries sustained, (he) is unable to perform his regular duties."

In a statement to the National Transportation Safety Board a few days after the accident, Grogan wrote: "As the operator, I saw no way to prevent this mishap/accident ... There was no previous indication of maintenance problems and no indication motor was about to quit. All emergency checklists run to completion as time and circumstances allowed."

A Beale Aero Club spokesman declined to comment on the suit on Friday. The Aero Club is on Beale Air Force Base.

The NTSB, in a statement of probable cause last September, blamed the crash on "maintenance personnel's improper installation of the fuel selector handle. Contributing to the accident was an incorrectly modified fuel selector handle assembly."

The NTSB said the plane "had recently undergone an annual inspection, and the accident flight was the first flight since that maintenance was performed."

According to the report, the airplane's "fuel selector handle had been installed 180 degrees out of alignment, which was only possible because the spring pin attaching the handle to the shaft had been modified. Disassembly of the fuel valve also revealed excessive wear to the internal mechanism."

The NTSB said it was "likely that the mechanic improperly installed the fuel selector handle after taking it off during the annual inspection, which was only possible due to the incorrectly modified fuel selector handle assembly."

CONTACT Harold Kruger at 749-4774.

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