NTSB Identification: NYC02LA176.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 27, 2002 in Athens, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-38-112, registration: N4307E
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

During the return leg of the student pilot's cross-country flight, the engine lost all power, and the student pilot performed a forced landing to trees. Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that the left fuel tank was full, but the right fuel tank contained about 1 gallon of fuel. Prior to the student renting the airplane, it was completely fueled, then flown 1.1 hours. A flight instructor met with the student pilot prior to her flight, and told her to fly out on the right tank, and fly back on the left. However, the student pilot thought she had 12 gallons of fuel in the right tank, and flew the entire cross-country flight with the fuel selector positioned to the right tank. After the power loss, the student pilot did not switch fuel tanks. The right fuel tank had indicated mid-range, and she believed that sufficient fuel remained in the right tank. Review of a discrepancies form revealed that during the 2 months prior to the accident, the right fuel tank gauge was entered twice, but the operator took no corrective action.

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

The student pilot's improper fuel management, which resulted in fuel starvation during cruise flight. A factor was the operator's failure to perform maintenance on a fuel gauge that was noted twice in a discrepancy log.

Full narrative available

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