NTSB Identification: CEN12LA124
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 03, 2012 in San Angelo, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-160, registration: N5768W
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.

While on the downwind leg of the landing pattern, the flight instructor asked the student to switch fuel tanks in order to balance the remaining fuel. Shortly thereafter, the student added power to adjust his approach path to the runway but the engine did not respond. The student switched back to the previous fuel tank; however, engine power was not restored. The airplane was substantially damaged during the forced landing. The flight instructor stated that, during the previous flight, the student had mentioned that the fuel selector valve did not have a noticeable detent position and asked if it was normal for the selector to rotate 360 degrees. The flight instructor was not familiar with the accident airplane and its various nuances and had not flown it before the day of the accident. A postaccident examination of the engine, fuel selector valve, and fuel systems revealed no anomalies. A representative of the airplane’s manufacturer indicated that the fuel selector valve was an older type that allows the valve to rotate without restriction; newer valve designs restrict travel so that the “off” position cannot be selected without depressing a stop. The airplane was not operating in weather conditions favorable for the formation of carburetor icing at the time of accident. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

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

A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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