NTSB Identification: MIA01LA136.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 28, 2001 in Wilmington, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/23/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300, registration: N38261
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.

Within 3 miles of landing, as the pilot was completing his before landing check list, the engine surged to 2,700 rpm two or three times, and then stopped developing power, completely. The pilot thought his best alternative was a forced landing to a corn field, which was accomplished but the airframe sustained substantial damage. Post crash examination by FAA inspectors revealed adequate fuel was aboard. Examination of engine, fuel, ignition, and airframe components revealed the fuel selector cover assembly was loose, missing mounting screws, and had shifted aft of its designed position. Such a repositioning would render the mechanical safety stop that would prevent an inadvertent switch to "off" inoperative. A search of the aircraft maintenance logs revealed an entry where the aircraft seats, door panels, plastic, and carpeting were removed for replacement or cleaning.

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

A total loss of engine power due to the failure of maintenance to properly secure the fuel selector cover, resulting in the pilot inadvertently selecting "off" instead of "left" tank, and the subsequent forced landing to uneven terrain.

Full narrative available

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