NTSB Identification: ERA10LA439
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 20, 2010 in Tunkhannock, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-150, registration: N4850A
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 certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot departed on a local instructional flight with approximately 18 gallons of fuel on board. The CFI reported that the fuel valve had been selected to the right fuel tank for takeoff. On the fourth takeoff, when the airplane was about 50 feet above ground level, the engine lost all power. The CFI then switched the fuel selector valve to the left fuel tank and the engine restarted; however, the airplane impacted a tree, landed in the river, nosed over, and came to rest inverted. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the left wing spar and lower portion of the firewall sustained substantial damage. Compression was confirmed on all engine cylinders, fuel was found in the carburetor, and the fuel screens were free of debris. According to the engine’s manufacturer, up to 14 gallons per hour of fuel could be consumed at full power. The airplane’s right fuel quantity gauge was placarded with “No take-off on right tank with less than 1/3 tank." It is likely that the right fuel tank was less than one-third full and on the initial climb the engine was starved of fuel.

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

A total loss of engine power during the initial climb due to the pilots' inadequate in-flight fuel management.

Full narrative available

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