NTSB Identification: WPR10CA144
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 22, 2010 in Sparks, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/15/2010
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N7499A
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

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.

According to the pilot, he was descending into the landing airport vicinity with the fuel selector on the right tank. The engine then lost power and he switched the fuel selector to the left tank, and then to the "both" position. The propeller continued to windmill and the pilot force-landed the airplane on an interstate. During the landing, the airplane touched down hard and the tailwheel separated from its mounting point and damaged the rudder. The pilot indicated that usually when the airplane is in a descent he positions the fuel selector on the "both" setting. He indicated that in a descent it is important that the selector is positioned to the both position to ensure adequate fuel flow. Additionally, the pilot reported that he may have encountered carburetor icing conditions and he did not immediately apply carburetor heat. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s carburetor icing chart, icing conditions existed at glide and cruise power. Seven gallons of fuel were found in the airplane's fuel tanks. Following the accident, the engine was started and test run on the airframe using the remaining fuel in the airplane and no anomalies were noted.

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

A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's failure to select the correct fuel selector position.

Full narrative available

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