NTSB Identification: WPR12CA166
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 15, 2012 in Rosamond, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2012
Aircraft: MOONEY M20B, registration: N74518
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The engine lost power after takeoff and the pilot landed in a nearby field, where both wings collided with fence posts. The pilot reported that the left fuel tank was about 1/4 full and the right fuel tank was empty. He had the left fuel tank selected during start up and taxi. As he did his pre-takeoff engine run-up checks, he switched fuel tanks per his normal procedure but did not return the selector valve to the left tank prior to departure. Both wings sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence.

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

A loss of engine power during takeoff due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot’s selection of an empty fuel tank prior to departure.

Full narrative available

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