NTSB Identification: ANC96LA088.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 14, 1996 in GUSTAVUS, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/18/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N8956N
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot was in cruise flight at 5,000 feet with the fuel selector positioned on the left main fuel tank that contained about 12 gallons of fuel. The pilot intended to deplete the fuel in the left main and then switch tanks. He noted a slight loss of fuel pressure and proceeded to switch the fuel selector to the right main tank that contained about 10 gallons. He also turned the electric fuel pump to the 'on' position. The fuel pressure went to zero and the engine quit. The pilot then selected the right auxiliary fuel tank but he could not restart the engine. During an emergency landing in a river bed, the right wing struck a small bank and the airplane received damage to the nose gear, propeller, right main landing gear, and the right wing. An examination of the engine revealed that upon activation of the electric fuel pump, it produced fuel to the engine driven pump. Hand rotation of the engine did not produce any fuel flow from the engine driven fuel pump. Further examination of the engine driven fuel pump on a test bench revealed that it did not meet the minimum fuel pressure as prescribed by the manufacturer and was very hard to prime.

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

A loss of engine power due to low fuel pressure from the engine driven fuel pump and subsequent fuel starvation. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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