NTSB Identification: LAX08CA215.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 04, 2008 in Seal Beach, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 150J, registration: N60486
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 pilot reported that he was towing a banner along the ocean shoreline at an altitude of 500 feet and an airspeed of 40 mph when the engine lost power. He dropped the banner into the water, but was unsuccessful in attempting to restart the engine. The pilot ditched the airplane in the ocean about 100 feet from shore. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane after it was pulled onto the beach. The inspector reported that the right wing sustained structural damage. Additionally, the inspector noted that the airplane had been modified extensively, and one of the modifications included replacement of the original two position (ON/OFF) fuel selector valve with a four position fuel selector valve (BOTH ON/LEFT/RIGHT/OFF). The fuel selector valve was found in the LEFT tank position. The left tank contained about 1 gallon of fuel, and the right tank was full of fuel. The pilot stated that he was aware the airplane had been extensively modified, but was not aware that the fuel selector valve had been changed. He further stated that he had never touched the fuel selector switch, as he thought it was ON or OFF only. The operator reported that the pilot had received training in the airplane that included use of the four position fuel selector valve.

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

Fuel starvation due to the pilot's improper fuel management procedures and failure to select a tank containing fuel. Contributing to the accident was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

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