NTSB Identification: DFW07LA009.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 21, 2006 in Wimberley, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/26/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-38-112, registration: N2426N
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 201-hour private pilot departed at about 11:15 on a local cross-country flight with 6 quarts of oil in the engine and 12 gallons of fuel on board. After takeoff, he climbed to 2,500 with the electric boost pump on. Later, during cruise flight the "engine powered back" and the pilot tried to reapply full power to the engine by "checking the fuses and [fuel] primer, as well as, turning on the electric fuel pump and turning to the left fuel tank." The engine did not respond and the pilot elected to execute a forced landing in a field. During a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC, the pilot stated that the engine "sputtered out" and "then came back, sputtering again" before "quitting completely." During the recovery of the airplane, recovery personnel reported draining 7 gallons of fuel from the right fuel tank and that the left tank was empty. An engine inspection was conducted on November 15, 2006. The engine sustained minimum impact damage during the accident sequence. The engine was rotated by hand; continuity through the engine's valve train and compression on each cylinder was established. The bracket air filter was in place, and appeared in good condition and free of obstructions. The airplane's electrical system was turned on and the electric fuel boost pump was switched on; the electric pump appeared to operate normally. Approximately two tablespoons of fuel was drained from the carburetor. The gascolator was opened and found to be dry and clear, the screen at the top of the gascolator was in-place and free of any debris. The engine was examined and no mechanical anomalies were noted. The airplane's information manual states under Fuel Limitations: "... The unusable fuel for this airplane has been determined as 1.0 gallon in each wing in critical flight attitudes." Additionally, the manual states that fuel consumption during cruise flight would be 6.5 gallons/hour (75%, Best Power setting).

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

the pilot's inadequate pre-flight planning which resulted in fuel starvation and the subsequent the loss of engine power. A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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