NTSB Identification: DFW06LA199.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 19, 2006 in Houston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N82078
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 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.

The 600-hour private pilot and 3 passengers could not get the airplane to start due to a "malfunction of the starter". A mechanic was called and the mechanic removed the "skin" around the engine and "sprayed a large amount of varsol and silicone into the starter." The engine starter then worked. After the work was completed, the pilot performed a "run-up and preflight inspection [and] all seemed okay." The pilot added that during the takeoff initial climb, while at about 300 feet MSL the engine totally failed." Fuel was found at the accident site and rescue personnel reported that the fuel selector was in the left-tank position, but they turned it to the "off" position after the crash. The engine was removed from the airplane's airframe, and placed on an engine test run stand. The test stand's electric fuel pump was used to prime the engine, and the engine started. Because the propeller was bent, a vibration developed and the engine could not be run above idle rpm. The engine was shutdown, the accident airplane's propeller was removed and replaced with a test propeller. The engine was then restarted and ran for approximately 15 minutes at various (idle to full) power settings. During initial startup and subsequent run, the engine's fuel pressure (engine driven pump) varied from about 2-3 psi, and then moved to about 5 psi and stabilized. The airplane's electric fuel pump was removed from the airplane, and connected to a battery source and appear to operate fine. However, operation of the electric fuel pump could not be verified, during the takeoff. The fuel lines from the wings to the engine were checked, and were clear of any obstructions. The engine drive fuel pump was removed from the engine and disassembled. A small piece of debris (approximately 1/8 inch square) was found inside the pump between the inlet and outlet chambers of the pump. The scat tubing that runs from the airbox to the carburetor was inspected. The internal wire and tubing appeared in good shape; however, the tubing had been crushed during the accident. The reason for the reported loss of engine power could not be determined.

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

The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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