NTSB Identification: LAX00LA154.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 14, 2000 in PALO ALTO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N81019
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The engine oil was changed and it was the operator's practice, following maintenance, to fly the aircraft before releasing it for student use. The pilot/flight instructor told the operator that the start, taxi, and run-up were normal. The engine operated smoothly until, at 300 feet agl on takeoff climb out, the engine quit abruptly, regained power, then quit again. The pilot attempted to return to the departure runway but landed short in a marsh area. At the accident site, the propeller did not appear to have been turning on impact. There was fuel in both wing tanks and there was no contamination at the sumps. The emergency responders had instructed the pilot to turn the fuel selector to the 'off' position. The fuel pump functioned audibly. There was clean oil in the engine and the engine rotated freely with good compression. After recovery, the cowling was removed and the engine was examined. No anomalies were noted. The propeller was replaced and the carburetor heat box was removed due to damage. The engine started promptly, the run-up was normal, and the engine delivered full power.

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

The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons during takeoff climb.

Full narrative available

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