NTSB Identification: FTW96LA040.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 03, 1995 in FORT WORTH, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/29/1996
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N9504J
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

SHORTLY AFTER TAKE OFF AT NIGHT, WHILE CLIMBING THROUGH ABOUT 300 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL, THE ENGINE LOST POWER, AND THE PILOT WAS FORCED TO LAND IN A GRASSY AREA ON AIRPORT PROPERTY. THE LANDING WAS HARD, WHICH RESULTED IN A DAMAGED WING SPAR. THE AIRPLANE HAD BEEN FLOWN APPROXIMATELY 2 HOURS SINCE IT WAS LAST REFUELED. THE PILOT REPORTED THAT HE HAD UTILIZED THE LEFT FUEL TANK FOR THE 2 HOURS OF FLIGHT, AND 'FORGOT TO CHANGE THE FUEL SELECTOR OVER TO THE RIGHT TANK.' ACCORDING TO THE OWNER, EACH FUEL TANK HAD A CAPACITY OF 18 GALLONS, AND FUEL CONSUMPTION WAS APPROXIMATELY 9 GALLONS PER HOUR. EXAMINATION OF THE AIRPLANE AFTER THE ACCIDENT REVEALED THAT THE LEFT MAIN FUEL TANK WAS EMPTY AND THE RIGHT MAIN FUEL TANK WAS FULL. ADDITIONALLY, NO FUEL WAS FOUND IN THE CARBURETOR OR GASCOLATOR. ACCORDING TO THE OWNER'S RECORDS, THE HOBBS METER READING WAS 1345.2 HOURS PRIOR TO THE FLIGHT. THE HOBBS METER READING WAS 1347.2 HOURS AT THE ACCIDENT SITE.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT BY THE PILOT, AND IMPROPER POSITIONING OF THE FUEL SELECTOR, WHICH RESULTED IN FUEL STARVATION AND LOSS OF ENGINE POWER DURING TAKEOFF. DARKNESS WAS A RELATED FACTOR.

Full narrative available

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