NTSB Identification: ERA09LA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 11, 2009 in Pittstown, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/12/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N55854
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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 pilot-rated passenger stated that he departed from runway 25, flying the airplane from the left front seat, with the boost pump on. During the initial takeoff climb, the fuel pressure gauge indicated zero. The engine sputtered, lost power, and the pilot-rated passenger selected a forced landing area. The engine then started, and the pilot started a turn back to the airport and the engine lost power again. The airplane collided with trees and the ground during a forced landing to a residential area. During examination and removal of the fuel system hoses to the carburetor, a loose fuel hose B-nut was found. Review of the airplane logbooks revealed the airplane engine was overhauled about 5 years prior to the accident, and put into storage until it was sold about 1 month prior to the accident. An annual inspection was conducted at that time, and the airplane had flown 4.79 hours since the last overhaul and annual inspection. According to data from the engine manufacturer, the required torque for the B-nut is 35 in/lbs. A follow-up fuel line leak test was performed, with the fuel supply selector and electric boost pump were turned on. The fuel pressure gauge indicated 4.5 ponds-per-square-inch (PSI). The fuel line B-nut was loosened and the fuel pressure dropped 1.5 PSI with a recording of 3 PSI for 5 seconds. Subsequently, fuel was observed leaking from the loosened B-nut.

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

A loss of engine power due to the improper tightening of a fuel hose B-nut by maintenance personnel during engine installation.

Full narrative available

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