NTSB Identification: SEA05LA048.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 09, 2005 in Superior, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N6399W
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 pilot elected to make an unscheduled landing due to what he perceived as a low fuel state, as both fuel gages were indicating less than one-quarter full. While maneuvering in the traffic pattern to afford another airplane on the runway adequate time to depart, the airplane's engine began to run rough, then lost power completely. The pilot went through the checklist to restart the airplane, and nearing the end of the runway power was restored, but only briefly; the engine failed a second time and there was no attempt to restart it. A clearing was located in which to land and after touching down and rolling out, the nose gear impacted a berm, which resulted in the nose gear failing aft causing substantial damage to the firewall. During the recovery process approximately one quart of fuel was observed in the right tank and 5.5 gallons in the left tank; the fuel selector was positioned in the LEFT TANK position. The pilot said he thought the fuel selector was in the Right Tank position prior to the engine quitting, however, couldn't say for sure if he moved it to the LEFT TANK position when the engine quit. A post accident examination revealed no preimpact failures or malfunctions which would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power due to the pilot's inadequate planning/decision and improper fuel management, which resulted in fuel starvation. A contributing factor was the berm. Full narrative available
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