NTSB Identification: LAX02LA036.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2001 in Prescott, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/23/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N7213P
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After flying for 2 hours the airplane arrived at the destination airport. Upon entering the traffic pattern the left seated pilot performed a prelanding check. However, he did not reposition the fuel tank selector from the nearly empty right auxiliary fuel tank to a main tank. Seconds after turning onto the final approach leg, the pilot performed another prelanding check. Again, he did not reposition the fuel tank selector away from the right auxiliary tank. Seconds thereafter, the engine sputtered and lost all power. The pilot then tried to reposition the fuel tank selector, but the pilot-rated passenger had already accomplished that task. Engine power was restored just prior to the airplane impacting a berm, about 500 feet short of the runway. The left seated pilot held commercial and certified flight instructor certificates. He had about 612 total flight hours including 32 hours in Comanches. The right seated pilot-rated passenger also held commercial and certified flight instructor certificates. He had about 1,740 total flight hours, including 40 hours in Comanches. The subsequent airplane examination revealed that the left auxiliary fuel tank and the two main tanks jointly contained a total of 50 gallons of fuel. The right auxiliary fuel tank was dry.

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

Fuel starvation on final approach due to the pilot's fuel mismanagement, and his inattentiveness in following established prelanding procedures.

Full narrative available

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