NTSB Identification: CEN11LA162
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 28, 2011 in Huntsville, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA24, registration: N8023P
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 requested that the airplane be “topped off” with fuel before the flight. The person who refueled the airplane filled two of the four tanks with 9 gallons of fuel total, and the pilot said he visually checked that all four tanks were full during his preflight inspection. The pilot reported that after flying about 1 hour, the “engine started surging due to a lack of fuel” and quit. He made several attempts to restart the engine “by switching from all of the rest of [his] full tanks” but was unable to restart the engine and performed a forced landing to a dirt road. During the landing, the left main gear collapsed and the left wing spar sustained substantial damage. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed both main tanks were empty and the two auxiliary tanks were full. There was no evidence of any fuel leaks at the scene. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the airplane auxiliary tanks only being fueled and the pilot departing with insufficient fuel in the main tanks, resulting in an engine failure due to fuel starvation.

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

The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection to ensure the main tanks were full, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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