On March 3, 2002, at 1534 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N1775T, experienced a loss of engine power and impacted terrain about 450 yards from the approach end of runway 28L at the Montgomery Field Airport (MYF), San Diego, California. Plus One Flyers was operating the rental airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed MYF about 1320. No flight plan had been filed.

In the pilot's written statement to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), he stated that he arrived at the airport about 1200. He spent about 1.5 hours reviewing the flight manual for the airplane due to his unfamiliarity with the airplane. He then conducted a normal preflight. He departed runway 28L with the left fuel tank selected. He proceeded north along the shoreline towards the Del Mar Raceway (horse track). He then turned inland towards French Valley Airport (F70), Temecula, California. His intent was to practice touch-and-go takeoffs and landings. Prior to arrival at F70, he requested airport advisories. UNICOM reported winds from 130 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 18 knots. He decided not to practice touch-and-go's at F70, and departed the airport on an easterly heading towards Julian VOR. He stated that there was light to moderate turbulence in the area, and he decided to return to MYF.

The pilot reported that over Lake Cuyamaca he switched the fuel selector to the right fuel tank for the return leg. The pilot stated that the descent from Lake Cuyamaca, which began at 8,500 feet, was normal.

MYF tower personnel instructed the pilot to proceed for a straight-in approach for runway 28L. Reported winds were from 260 degrees at 8 knots. About 1 nm from touchdown, the engine began to lose power. The pilot rechecked that the mixture was rich, and the carburetor heat was on. He contacted the tower and declared an emergency. The pilot stated that he informed the tower that he was going to land on 28R, which has a displaced threshold. Tower personnel cleared him to land on any runway. The pilot reported that there was not sufficient altitude to make the displaced threshold, and he executed a forced landing short of the runway. He stated that the fuel selector was selected to the right fuel tank. He further indicated that the airplane came to rest in a nose down, left wing low attitude. When he visually checked the fuel tanks, he was unable to see any fuel.

The airport manager stated that he did not observe fuel leaking out of the airplane, and verified that the fuel selector handle was on the right tank.

The FAA inspector, who visually examined the fuel system, noted no leaks or ruptures in the system. The inspector observed fuel in the left wing fuel tank, but not in the right wing fuel tank. He further indicated that the engine was started for a post accident test run on the left tank with no discrepancies noted.

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