NTSB Identification: CEN12LA007
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 05, 2011 in Centerburg, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/27/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration: N6403A
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 reported that he visually checked the fuel level in the tanks and compared it against the fuel quantity gauges prior to the flight. He stated that the left tank contained about 6 gallons of fuel and the right tank contained about 10 gallons. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot switched the fuel selector from the left tank, which was indicating 1 to 2 gallons of fuel, to the right tank. The flight continued for another 50 minutes, and, during the descent to the destination airport, the engine lost power. The right fuel quantity indicator was indicating 5 gallons of fuel at the time. The pilot stated that when he switched the fuel selector back to the left tank in an attempt to restart the engine, the right fuel quantity indicator dropped to 0 gallons. The pilot was not able to restart the engine and force landed the airplane in a corn field. The nosegear collapsed during the landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the firewall. A postaccident inspection of the airplane revealed that both fuel tanks were empty and a small amount of fuel remained in the gascolator. The reason for the discrepancy of the right fuel quantity indicator versus the amount of fuel in the right fuel tank was not determined.

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

The pilot's improper pre-flight planning and failure to ensure that there was an adequate fuel supply on board to complete the flight, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the malfunction of the fuel quantity indicator.

Full narrative available

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