NTSB Identification: ATL06LA090.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2006 in Nashville, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N3454K
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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.

According to the pilot, the airplane was topped with fuel before a 30-minute local flight on June 4, 2006. On June 8th, the day of the accident, the airplane departed the Cornelia Fort Airpark for Smithville, Tennessee, a distance of 45 nautical miles. After a brief time on the ground in Smithville the airplane departed for the return trip to Cornelia Fort Airpark. The pilot reported that on takeoff he smelled fuel but that the smell dissipated after he leveled off. About 20 minutes into the flight the smell of fuel returned and that the fuel pressure began to drop. The pilot switched to the left tank and the fuel smell subsided and the fuel pressure stabilized. As the airplane neared the destination airport the fuel pressure began to drop again. The engine lost power while the airplane was on a downwind leg for runway 04. The pilot switched fuel tanks again but was unable to get the engine restarted. The pilot made an off-airport landing in dense brush and small trees short of the runway. Examination of the engine found the outlet fuel line from the engine-driven fuel pump to the carburetor disconnected at the fuel pump fitting. Fresh insect debris was found in the line and evidence indicated it entered the line after the accident and prior to examination. The debris was cleared from the line and the line was reconnected. The engine was primed and started. The engine started immediately and was run at 1,200 RPM for a few minutes before being shut down. The engine had been modified to deliver 160 HP and at that time had the fuel flow transducer installed in the fuel line between the fuel pump and carburetor. The aircraft had flown 49.5 hours since the modification which was done during the last annual inspection on September 5, 2005.

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

Improper installation of the fuel line by maintenance personnel which resulted in the fuel line disconnecting and a loss of engine power during approach.

Full narrative available

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