NTSB Identification: LAX00LA189.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 09, 2000 in MARANA, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150, registration: N7345Z
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.

It was the airplane's 15th flight of the day, but the pilot's first. When the tow pilot relieved the previous pilot, he received a briefing, which noted the previous flights, airplane performance, and fuel status, 1/4 full in the left tank and a full right tank. He was departing with a glider in tow when the engine sputtered, regained power, then sputtered again. He released the glider and attempted to switch to the right tank. The airplane collided with a fence at the end of the field. The original 150 horsepower engine was replaced by a 180 horsepower engine in accordance with a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). It stated the left tank was the main tank, which was to be used for takeoff and landings, while the right tank was an auxiliary tank, which was to be used in level flight only. The STC also required a placard be placed on the left (main) fuel tank noting 'capacity 18 gallons, 9 gallons useable.' Another placard, which read 'EMPTY,' was to be placed on the left-hand fuel gauge at the original 1/2 full mark. These placards were noted in a supplement to the airplane flight manual. This supplement also noted in the limitations section 'Do not take off when left hand fuel tank gauge registers in the red area.'

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

the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane as required by the airplane's published flight manual resulting in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

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