NTSB Identification: MIA06CA111.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 16, 2006 in Ormond Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N8149Q
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was flown by the student and certified flight instructor (CFI) on 2 separate flights lasting a total of approximately 2.8 hours. While taxiing after landing following the second flight, the CFI reportedly advised the student to fill the fuel tanks before flying solo in the traffic pattern. The student reported that while taxiing after landing following the second flight the CFI advised him after looking at the fuel gauges to supply fuel to the engine from the left tank because it had a greater amount of fuel. The airplane was not fueled before the student departed solo and during the initial climb to remain in the traffic pattern, the engine sputtered. The student decreased the angle of attack and engine power was restored; this sequence was reported as occurring 3 times by a witness located on the airport. After the engine lost power a third time, engine power was not restored and the airplane collided with trees, then the ground during a forced landing. Postaccident inspection revealed the fuel selector was found positioned to the left fuel tank which was empty, while the right fuel tank was approximately 1/2 full. The airplane was recovered without removal of the wings and transported to the airport where the engine was started and operated without discrepancies to 1,000 rpm. Concern for internal engine damage precluded operation at a higher rpm. Examination of the fuel gauges revealed that with electrical power applied, the left fuel gauge "pegged full." The left fuel transmitter and left fuel gauge independently tested satisfactory. Examination of the electrical wiring from the left fuel transmitter to the fuel gauge revealed a discrepancy with a connection near the wing root.

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

A loss of engine power due to the student pilot's improper positioning of the fuel selector during takeoff. A contributing factor was the pilot's failure to abort the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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