NTSB Identification: FTW00LA202.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2000 in SUGAR LAND, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N9407W
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.

After departure, the airplane was climbing through 1,500 feet, when the engine 'spooled down.' The pilot stated that he pushed the engine controls forward and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump; however, he did not detect a change in engine power. The pilot elected to make a forced landing in a field approximately 2 miles from the departure airport. During the landing roll, the left main landing gear impacted an ant hill and separated. The FAA inspector found the fuel selector in the off position. He added that he found the left auxiliary fuel tank 'completely empty,' the left and right main fuel tanks full, and the right auxiliary fuel tank containing 3.5 gallons of fuel. The airplane was taken to an aircraft maintenance facility where mechanics test ran the engine on the airplane. The mechanics reported that the engine would not start and run with the left auxiliary fuel tank selected; however, the engine started and ran for approximately 15 minutes on each of the remaining fuel tanks. The FAA inspector stated that the pilot indicated that he thought he had taken off with the left main fuel tank selected.

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

The pilot's improper fuel tank selection, which resulted in fuel starvation. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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