NTSB Identification: LAX03LA012.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 19, 2002 in Van Nuys, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N9483W
Injuries: 2 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.

The airplane collided with obstacles and the ground during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot stated that shortly after takeoff, and during initial climb out, the airplane's engine failed. The pilot attempted to verify the proper operation of the fuel and engine systems, but was unable to determine the source of the problem, and, due to his low altitude, he was focused on finding a suitable emergency landing location. During the landing rollout, the airplane collided with obstacles and terrain. The Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident recalled the pilot stating that one of the two tip tanks was selected at the time of the accident. The inspector examined the airplane on scene and found only residual fuel in the outboard tanks, while fuel remained in the inboard tanks. The inspector opined that insufficient fuel remained in either of the two outboard tanks to supply power to the engine. The inspector drained 1 1/2 ounces of fluid consistent with the appearance and odor of aviation fuel through the carburetor drain plug. The post-accident examination of the engine and fuel system revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction.

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

fuel starvation due to the pilot's mismanagement of the fuel system and failure to select a tank containing fuel.

Full narrative available

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