NTSB Identification: ANC97LA129.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Sunday, August 24, 1997 in BETHEL, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/13/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N4170R
Injuries: 1 Serious,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.

Operator personnel reported that shortly after takeoff, the engine began to lose power at an altitude of about 600 feet mean sea level, and that emergency procedures failed to restore engine power. The pilot turned back toward the departure airport, and selected an emergency landing area about 1 mile from the airport. The airplane touched down on soft tundra covered terrain and received damage to the landing gear, fuselage, and wings. An FAA airworthiness inspector examined the airplane at the accident site. The fuel selector was found positioned to the left wing tip fuel tank. The left tip tank did not contain any fuel. No fuel was found in the fuel line from the gascolator to the fuel pump. No fuel was found in the line from the fuel pump to the engine manifold. After recovery, the engine was started, and it developed full power with, and without, the fuel boast pump in the 'ON' position. During the engine run, the left tip tank was selected. The engine continued to run for 1.5 minutes before quitting.

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

the pilot's improper selection of a fuel tank that did not contain fuel, which resulted in subsequent fuel starvation and loss of engine power. A factor relating to the accident was: the inability to reach suitable terrain for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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