NTSB Identification: WPR11FA403
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 23, 2011 in Palo Alto, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/15/2013
Aircraft: BEECH A23-24, registration: N5779V
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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.

After about an hour of touch-and-go landings in the pattern, the student pilot switched the fuel selector from the right to the left fuel tank. Ten minutes later, after taking off and at 300 to 400 feet above ground level, the engine sustained a total loss of power. The flight instructor performed an off-airport landing on a dirt road. During the landing roll, the airplane’s left wing struck a tree, causing the airplane to veer off the road. The previous day, flight in the airplane started with 40 gallons of fuel and it was flown for 1.5 to 2 hours. The next day, no fuel was added, and the student and instructor flew 1 hour in the pattern. The total fuel used for both flights was between 25.6 and 31.0 gallons. During the recovery of the airplane, 12 gallons of fuel were drained from the right fuel tank, and 2 cups of fuel were drained from the left. During the postaccident engine examination, fuel was supplied and the engine was successfully started and run with no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation of the fuel system or engine. Consequently, the loss of engine power was a result of fuel starvation when the student selected the empty fuel tank.

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

The student’s and flight instructor’s mismanagement of the fuel supply, resulting in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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