NTSB Identification: CHI97LA153.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 31, 1997 in ALANSON, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-108, registration: N5739Z
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 airplane was being ferried for a annual inspection that had expired. The pilot said he had full fuel in the right tank and 1/2 to 3/4 of fuel in the left tank at take off. At approximately 100 feet agl, the engine lost total power. The airplane was observed by a witness as banking hard to get back toward the airstrip. The pilot said that as the airplane approached the ground, he '. . . started a flare, but apparently just didn't have enough altitude for a recovery.' The pilot had the left fuel tank selected, but no fuel was found in the left tank. Both lift struts had failed at the fork ends, and both struds had compression bents in the middle.

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

inadequate preflight by the pilot, which resulted in fuel starvation, due to an improper fuel tank selector position. A factor relating to the accident was: the pilot's improper inflight planning/decision, which resulted in his delay or inability to flare the airplane during the emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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