NTSB Identification: FTW98LA329.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 25, 1998 in ROCKWALL, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N30117
Injuries: 1 Minor,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.

After entering downwind at the Rockwall Municipal Airport and as the pilot was about to perform pre-landing checklist, the 'engine completely quit.' The pilot turned towards the runway and switched the fuel selector to the right fuel tank, but the engine did not restart. The aircraft touched down to the right of the approach end of the displaced threshold at about a 10 degree angle. The aircraft went off the right side of the runway into a down-sloped grassy area, and then crossed a taxiway perpendicular to the runway. The aircraft came to a stop upright facing towards the runway. Examination of the airplane's fuel system revealed that the left fuel tank was empty, and the right fuel tank was approximately half-full. The Rockwall Airport manager reported that he had moved the fuel selector from the left tank position to the off position. During preflight, the pilot observed the fuel in each fuel tank at the tab, which is a total of 17 gallons in each tank. The pilot reported she used the right tank for taxi and climb, and the left tank for cruise.

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

The pilot's improper use of the fuel tank selector resulting in the loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. A factor was the pilot's failure to follow the check list.

Full narrative available

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