NTSB Identification: CHI01LA114.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 08, 2001 in Gary, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Piper J3C-65, registration: N6460D
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 airplane contacted a rock and directional control was lost during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot reported the engine quit while he was six miles out over the water from the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The pilot reported he was able to temporarily restore engine power as he positioned the airplane for a forced landing. The right main gear separated from the airplane during the landing roll after it contacted a large rock. The airplane came to rest part way down an embankment. Examination of the airplane after the accident revealed the carburetor had separated from the engine; however, there was no evidence of fuel leakage at the accident site. One and one-half ounces of fuel were drained from the fuel line between the header fuel tank and the fuel selector. The fuel gages indicated the right tank was empty and the left tank contained 1/3 tank of fuel. A visual inspection of both tanks revealed they were empty. The airplane had been modified with an extended range fuel system. The airplane had not been flown since September, 2000. The pilot reported that three days prior to the accident, he noticed fuel leaking out of the carburetor. He reported that he was told by a mechanic and the airplane owner that the float needle was stuck and that he should tap the carburetor with a wrench. He reported he did this, then flew the airplane around the traffic pattern. The airplane then sat until the day of the accident. The pilot reported he did not visually check the fuel level prior to takeoff on the accident flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The inadequate preflight performed by the pilot which resulted in an insufficient fuel supply and the subsequent fuel exhaustion. Factors associated with the accident were the inaccurate fuel quantity indicator, the rock which resulted in the overload failure of the right main landing gear, and the embankment which the airplane traveled down. Full narrative available
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