NTSB Identification: DEN00LA035.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 31, 1999 in BRIGHTON, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-160, registration: N9225D
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

During the preflight, the pilot did not visually look into the fuel tanks. He said that he turned the master switch on, and the fuel gauges indicated approximately one half full. During the takeoff roll, he raised the nose wheel quickly to keep the prop out of the dirt. He said that he performed a steeper then normal climb-out, and then turned left continuing the steep climb. He said the engine stopped, and the metal propeller stopped turning. A pilot/mechanic said that if a steep climbing departure turn is performed by a pilot, and the airplane is only partially fueled, unporting of the fuel lines in the wing tanks is possible, resulting in fuel starvation to the engine. No preimpact engine or airframe anomalies, which might have affected the airplane's performance, were identified. Pilot training manuals caution the pilot to visually look into fuel tanks during preflight and not to rely on cockpit fuel gauges.

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

The pilot's not following preflight procedures, the starvation of fuel to the engine, and the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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