NTSB Identification: ERA11LA393
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 10, 2011 in Ormond Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/12/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-161, registration: N9202C
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a 1.2-hour instructional flight, with the student pilot at the controls, the airplane lost engine power after takeoff. The airplane was climbing through 200 feet above ground level when the loss of power occurred, and the flight instructor maneuvered the airplane to a forced landing before it impacted trees beyond the departure end of the runway. Examination of the engine and airplane at the accident site did not reveal any preexisting mechanical anomalies that may have caused the loss of engine power. The flight instructor stated that each wing tank contained about 12 gallons of fuel before the flight. According to performance charts in the airplane's operating handbook, at best economy mixture settings, the engine would burn about 8.5 gallons per hour, which would result in about 1.4 hours of flight time for 12 gallons of fuel. The preflight ground checks of 0.2 hours and flight time of 1.2 hours would equate to about 12 gallons of fuel burn for the accident flight. Both the flight instructor and student pilot stated that the fuel selector was in the right tank position throughout the flight and was not switched to the left tank, even though the left tank had about 12 gallons of fuel. This resulted in fuel starvation to the engine when the right tank was depleted of fuel.

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

The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation, which resulted from the flight instructor's inadequate in-flight fuel management.

Full narrative available

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