NTSB Identification: FTW99LA010.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 18, 1998 in OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Mooney M20A, registration: N6534B
Injuries: 3 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.

The engine lost power soon after departing from runway 35 at an altitude of 400 to 500 feet AGL. The pilot was aware during the preflight inspection that the left main fuel cell was 3/4 full and the right tank was very low on fuel. Prior to takeoff, the pilot inadvertently switched the fuel selector to the right fuel tank. The pilot assumed that the engine had malfunctioned and did not switch the fuel selector to the fullest tank. The 400 hour pilot landed the airplane in an open pasture with the landing gear extended. During the landing roll, the airplane collided with a terrace, collapsing the landing gear. According to local law enforcement personnel that responded to the accident site, the pilot reported that 'the airplane ran out of fuel;' however, the left main fuel cell was approximately 3/4 full. The pilot added that the 1959 vintage airplane was equipped with a single fuel gauge controlled by a two-position toggle switch for both fuel cells.

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

The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as result of the pilot's improper placement of the fuel tank selector switch. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the pilot to execute the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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