NTSB Identification: WPR12LA055
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 06, 2011 in Davis, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration: N2466D
Injuries: 1 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.

Before beginning the cross-country flight, the pilot did not fill the fuel tanks to capacity due to weight and balance concerns and estimated the amount of fuel onboard. While on final approach, the engine lost power. Following the loss of engine power, the pilot switched fuel tanks, but he could not recall which fuel tank the fuel selector was positioned to before the power loss. The pilot landed the airplane in a field short of the runway, and the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. When the airplane came to rest, the pilot positioned the fuel selector to the "off" position. Postaccident examination revealed that fuel was present in the left wing tank; however, no fuel was identified in the right wing tank. The engine was test run with no operational anomalies identified. Although the position of the fuel selector when the power loss occurred could not be determined, it is likely that it was positioned to the right fuel tank. In this position, the engine would have been unable to access fuel from the left fuel tank.

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

The pilot's inadequate fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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