NTSB Identification: CEN13LA362
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 28, 2013 in Eagle, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/24/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N856CC
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the flight, the airplane's engine experienced a loss of power, and the copilot took control of the airplane from the pilot, who had been flying, and directed the pilot to attempt to restart the engine. The airplane descended and impacted terrain short of the runway. The fuel tank selector was found in the left main tank position, but no visible fuel was found in the left main tank. After battery power was applied to the airplane, the engine data monitoring system indicated that the left main tank had 11 gallons of fuel and the right main tank had 8 gallons of fuel. After the fuel floats were moved, the monitoring system indicated that the left main tank had 2 gallons of fuel and that the right main tank had 9.5 gallons of fuel. Regardless of the fuel quantity indications, the pilots should have known how much fuel was in each tank and, based on fuel calculations, known when each tank was going to become empty. Further, the pilot should have switched fuel tanks as part of the engine restart procedures; however, he did not report doing so. Each of the four fuel tank senders were examined and wear and corrosion were found on all of them. When tested with a voltmeter, none of the fuel floats provided consistent electrical signals, which would alter the amount of fuel indicated on the engine monitoring system. Because the selector was positioned to the left main tank, the engine lost power due to fuel starvation.

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

The pilots’ improper fuel management, which resulted in the loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Contributing to the accident was worn and corroded fuel senders, which transmitted inaccurate fuel readings to the fuel monitoring system.

Full narrative available

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