NTSB Identification: ATL98LA029.
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Accident occurred Monday, December 22, 1997 in WELLINGTON, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/31/1998
Aircraft: Lutz EAA BIPLANE P-2, registration: N913AM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to a witness, the airplane reached an altitude of approximately 200 to 300 feet after takeoff, then the engine began to sputter. Another witness stated the airplane made a 180 degree turn back toward the runway before it entered a spin and crashed. According to another pilot, he flew the airplane for 35 to 40 minutes the day before, and the accident pilot flew 35 minutes on the day of the accident. The other pilot stated the front fuel tank held 14 1/2 gallons, and the fuel consumption was 8-9 gallons per hour. An FAA inspector stated that the fuel selector was set to the front fuel tank setting. The fuel lines were checked, and no fuel was found in the line from the front fuel tank to the engine. There was fuel in the line from the rear fuel tank. The airplane had been purchased by the pilot on 12/4/97 (18 days before the accident). A witness stated that he did not believe the pilot was comfortable in the airplane.

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

failure of the pilot to ensure the fuel selector was properly positioned to a tank with adequate fuel before takeoff, which resulted in fuel starvation and loss of engine power; failure of the pilot to accomplish the emergency procedure (restart the engine using another tank) after the loss of power; and failure of the pilot to maintain adequate airspeed, while maneuvering for a forced landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and collision with the terrain.

Full narrative available

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