NTSB Identification: SEA98LA014.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 15, 1997 in BATTLE GROUND, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150, registration: N1668P
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 private pilot removed the fuel selector valve handle assembly and had the placarded backing panel painted. During reinstallation, the pilot improperly placed the handle and pointer 90-degrees counterclockwise from the correct selector valve position. During the accident flight, the handle was placed in the right tank position indication, but the actual valve position was in the fuel shutoff position. The engine was subsequently starved of fuel and quit. The pilot initiated a forced landing onto wooded terrain and was seriously injured. Further exam of the valve revealed that it was improperly inspected by a mechanic, thus eliminating the detent function only. The engine fuel primer was found unlocked. Exam of the engine and airframe did not reveal any other preimpact mechanical discrepancies. The pilot had been denied a medical certificate due to an unexplained history of alcohol abuse. The FAA revoked the pilot's airman certificate for failure to provide blood test results from blood drawn after the accident.

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

The owner/pilot's failure to properly install the fuel selector valve after removal, subsequently leading to a false indication on the valve selector handle. This led to the pilot unintentionally closing the valve and starving the engine of fuel during the initial climb.

Full narrative available

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