NTSB Identification: CEN09LA171
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 22, 2009 in Falcon, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28C-235, registration: N9487W
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 pilot said that he preflighted the airplane and noted the following fuel gauge indications: Left tip tank, 6 gallons (17 gallon capacity); left main tank, 12-15 gallons (25 gallon capacity); right main tank, 5-10 gallons (25 gallon capacity); right tip tank, empty (17 gallon capacity). The pilot and a friend flew for about 1.5 hours then returned to the airport. While on short final approach, the engine lost power. The airplane touched down in a field 200 to 300 feet short of the runway and struck a barbed wire fence. The airplane sustained leading edge damage to both wings and damage to the left main tank. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane and reported finding the fuel selector positioned on the left main fuel tank. He found fuel in the fuel selector drain and in the left main fuel tank drain. There was a negligible amount of fuel in the right main tank fuel drain. The left wing tip tank contained approximately 3 to 5 gallons, and the right wing tip tank contained approximately 2 to 4 gallons. With the fuel selector positioned on the left main tank, the engine was started and allowed to run for approximately 5 minutes. The fuel selector was then positioned on the left wing tip tank and the engine was allowed to run for another 5 minutes. The fuel selector was then positioned on the right wing tip tank, and the engine continued to run. The fuel selector was positioned on the right main tank and approximately one to two minutes later the engine stopped running. According to a Piper Aircraft Company spokesman, the airplane's engine, operating at 7000 feet mean sea level and 75 percent power, will consume about 14 gallons per hour.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's inadequate fuel management. Full narrative available
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