NTSB Identification: LAX05LA309.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in Kernville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Thomas RV4, registration: N3882N
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 off the departure end of the runway following a loss of engine power in the takeoff initial climb. The airplane took off and reached an altitude of 30 feet when the engine and propeller stopped. The airplane touched down about 150 feet from the end of the runway, overran the pavement, and collided with multiple obstacles. Examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel selector was in the left tank position. The right wing fuel tank filler cap was removed and the tank was observed to be nearly full. The left wing had partially separated from the wing root and the fuel line was broken at that location. The left wing fuel tank filler cap was removed and the tank was observed to be nearly empty. When the left wing was tilted, approximately 1 quart of fluid was observed to drain out. There was no visual evidence or odor of fuel in the ground beneath the left wing. An Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanic examined the airplane's fuel system and reported that there was no fuel found in the fuel line between the engine driven fuel pump and the carburetor. He found about a teaspoon of fuel in the carburetor bowl. He operated the electric fuel pump successfully and disassembled the engine driven fuel pump, noting no peculiarities and an intact diaphragm.

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

a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation caused by the pilot's failure to select a tank containing fuel for takeoff. A factor in the accident was the lack of a runway overrun area beyond the departure end of the runway.

Full narrative available

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