NTSB Identification: LAX01LA033.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 04, 2000 in LIVERMORE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N9986W
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 making a forced landing in an open field due to a loss of engine power, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it collided with a berm. The purpose of the flight was for the first pilot to gain more experience flying the airplane, as he was not familiar with it. He had asked one of the part owners of the airplane to act as his safety pilot during the flight because he was going to practice IFR procedures. During an ILS-localizer approach, the first pilot inadvertently switched the fuel selector handle to the "OFF" position. The engine lost power. The first pilot was unable to move the fuel selector back to its original position. The safety pilot took control of the airplane, declared an emergency, and landed the airplane. The first pilot informed the responding police officer that he believed the fuel selector positions were "LEFT-OFF-RIGHT." The actual positions of the fuel selector were "OFF-LEFT-RIGHT." The officer observed the fuel selector handle pointing towards the "OFF" position. The fuel selector handle was examined. It was difficult to move, as if there was not enough lubrication on it, but it functioned properly.

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

The pilot's lack of familiarity with the airplane's fuel system. This lead to the pilot inadvertently switching the fuel selector handle to the "OFF" position and subsequently to a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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