NTSB Identification: NYC03IA011.
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Incident occurred Friday, October 18, 2002 in Altoona, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/30/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-236, registration: N4295R
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
During takeoff and after reaching 300 feet agl, the engine started to run "very rough." The pilot switched from the right fuel tank to the left, the engine continued to run rough, and the fuel pressure gauge indicated zero. With insufficient power to maintain flight, the pilot executed a forced landing to a field. An engine run was performed, but was limited to 1,500 RPM because of propeller damage. The left and right fuel tanks were selected, and no anomalies were identified. The engine was then removed, and sent to the manufacturer for overhaul where no preimpact failures or malfunctions were identified. The engine was reinstalled, and the airplane painted. While taxing the airplane after being painted, the engine lost power. The pilot noted that the engine would run normally when the right tank was selected, but when the left was selected, fuel pressure would drop to zero, and the engine would lose power. The pilot had the fuel selector removed, and examined. No anomalies were identified, and no obstructions were found in the fuel line that ran from the left fuel tank to the fuel selector. The fuel selector was replaced with a new one, and the problem did not reoccur.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: A failure of the fuel selector for an undetermined reason. Full narrative available
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