NTSB Identification: CHI96FA135.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 18, 1996 in RAYMOND, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/17/1997
Aircraft: PIPER J-3, registration: N6510H
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Witnesses reported that after departure from a grass runway. The airplane reached an altitude of about 250 feet, then it departed controlled flight, and descend into the terrain. The winds were reported to be from 280 degrees at 17 knots with gusts to 24 knots. The fuel valve was found in the off position. The cockpit control lever for the fuel valve was found approximately three quarters of an inch aft of the on position. The aircraft's owner reported that the fuel valve handle was always left in the on position. The propeller did not show any evidence of engine power at the time of impact. No preimpact abnormalities were noted when the engine was disassembled.

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

failure of the pilot to ensure that the fuel selector was properly positioned to the full 'on' position before takeoff, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation during the initial climb after takeoff; and the pilot's failure to maintain control of the aircraft. The gusty wind condition was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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