NTSB Identification: LAX01LA180.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2001 in Tucson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/23/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA18-150, registration: N8524Y
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 lost engine power and collided with an airport perimeter fence, a tree, and the ground. The purpose of the flight was to make sure the airplane was in working order for the day's glider tow activities. The accident flight was the first flight of the day. A preflight inspection was conducted, which included visually verifying the fuel selector position, which was found pointing towards the left. The position of the fuel selector appeared correct to the pilot. No discrepancies were noted with the startup, run-up, or takeoff roll. During climb out the airplane lost engine power. The pilot attempted to slip the airplane down to the runway. The pilot stopped the slip and tried to make it over the perimeter fence. He placed his hand on the fuel selector and noted that it was out of position. He repositioned the fuel selector, the engine quit, and the airplane landed short of the perimeter fence. During the rollout the airplane contacted trees, the right main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane came to rest upright past the fence. The pilot indicated that the he had been flying a Cessna 140, which has a similar fuel selector handle, but works in the opposite direction. He stated that he hadn't flown the Super Cub as often during the year and most of his experience was in the Cessna 140.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection, which included verifying the position of the fuel selector handle, which subsequently led to fuel starvation and a forced landing.

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