NTSB Identification: SEA96LA119.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, June 10, 1996 in BOUNTIFUL, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-150, registration: N5172W
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 student pilot stated that during his preflight inspection, there were 'over 20 gallons' of automotive fuel in the aircraft's left tank and 5.5 gallons in the right tank. The aircraft was modified per FAA supplemental type certificate to run on automotive fuel. The pilot stated that the aircraft's fuel selector was in the right tank position when he entered the aircraft, and although he believed he switched it to left tank before the flight, he was not certain of this. The pilot said that intermittent power interruptions started immediately after lift-off and worsened in the right-hand traffic pattern; the engine stopped completely, when he turned base. The pilot did not recall attempting to switch fuel tanks during the event. The aircraft landed about 300 yards short of the runway and struck a ditch. Two tablespoons of automotive fuel were found in the carburetor float bowl after the accident; the engine was later successfully test-run. An individual who entered the aircraft and shut off its fuel selector valve after the accident stated he switched the valve from a position 'clockwise to the right' to OFF. The last documented annual inspection of the aircraft was in 1993.

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

inadequate fuel management by the student pilot, which resulted in fuel starvation, due to an improperly positioned fuel selector. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's inadequate remedial action, and a ditch in the emergency landing area.

Full narrative available

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