NTSB Identification: CEN10CA332
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 14, 2010 in Hot Springs, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/21/2010
Aircraft: PIPER J3C-65, registration: N70906
Injuries: 2 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.

The pilot/owner and a commercial-rated pilot departed in a tandem, two-seat, tailwheel-equipped airplane on a local flight. On the return leg to the airport the commercial pilot was flying the airplane. The commercial pilot, who was seated in the rear seat, did his before-landing checks to set up for the landing; however, during the approach to the runway the engine lost power. Unable to regain engine power, they elected to conduct a forced landing in a vacant lot. During the forced landing the airplane sustained damage to the left wing and fuselage. After the accident the pilot/owner and commercial pilot discovered that the engine’s fuel shut-off valve was in the (pulled) off position. The commercial pilot reported that he flew a Cub Special (PA-11), but never the accident airplane (J3), and that the fuel shut-off valve in the J3 was in the same place as the carburetor heat in the PA-11. The commercial pilot added that the shut-off valve was not color coded or marked, and that he pulled the fuel shut-off knob mistaking it for the carburetor heat.

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 inadvertent closure of the fuel valve. Contributing to the accident were the unmarked fuel shutoff valve and the pilot's inexperience in the accident airplane.

Full narrative available

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