NTSB Identification: CEN11FA292
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 16, 2011 in New Orleans, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/05/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22/20, registration: N3621Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot had just taken off and was about 400 feet above ground level when the engine began to run rough and then lose all power. The pilot switched the fuel selector from the left fuel tank to the right tank and pumped the engine primer but could not restore power. The pilot force-landed the airplane on a road. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a minivan that could not get out of the way of the airplane. A postaccident examination showed little fuel in the airplane's left fuel tank. The right fuel tank was full of fuel. The airplane’s engine and other systems showed no preimpact anomalies. The pilot said that his practice was to take off on the left tank and switch tanks once he was stable in the air. On the day of the accident, the pilot made several short flights and forgot to switch from the left tank on those flights; thus all the fuel from the left tank was used up before the accident flight.

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

The pilot’s inadequate in-flight fuel management, which resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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