NTSB Identification: LAX00LA264.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 12, 2000 in SELMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/01/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-38-112, registration: N2466D
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

During a touch-and-go takeoff the student pilot switched the fuel selector to the opposite tank, and the engine quit. The CFI took the controls and made an off-airport landing in a vineyard at the departure end of the runway. During the on-scene inspection of the airframe, a functional check of the fuel system was conducted. When the master switch was engaged and the electric boost pump placed in the ON position, it was noted that the pump was working, but there was no fuel pressure observed or fuel found in the gascolator. An inspection was then conducted on the fuel selector valve. After removal, the valve was found in-between the left and right port openings, and the fuel valve control rod could not be turned manually. The plastic fuel selector handle was removed and found cracked. The brass insert that is housed in the fuel selector handle and attaches to the fuel valve control rod would not engage completely inside the plastic handle. There were no previous signs of cracks in the plastic fuel selector handle.

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

A cracked plastic fuel selector handle that precluded proper engagement of the internal mechanism to fully select a port, and left it in an intermediate position, restricting the fuel supply to the engine, which subsequently lead to a loss of engine power.

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