On April 25, 1996, about 1847 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 140, N2001N, was substantially damaged when it impacted a hill during a forced landing after takeoff from Houlton International, Houlton, Maine. The commercial pilot, sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight. No flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

During a telephone interview with the pilot, he stated that he conducted a local flight for approximately 1 hour and then returned to Houlton to practice some landings. During the initial climb of the second takeoff, about 300 feet above the ground, the engine lost total power. The pilot lowered the nose to stabilize the airspeed, switched the fuel selector valve from the left to right fuel tank, and pumped the throttle. The engine did not respond, and the pilot performed a forced landing. During the emergency descent, the airplane collided with hilly terrain.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector revealed no preimpact anomalies with the airframe or engine. The left fuel tank was determined to contain about 2 to 3 gallons of fuel, while the right fuel tank was observed leaking an undetermined amount of fuel on the ground.

According to the Cessna 140 Operations Manual, the total fuel capacity for each wing was 12 1/2 gallons. Additionally, in the starting engine section, it stated, "Set fuel tank selector to fullest tank. (Do not take off on less than 1/4 tank.)"

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