ANC06LA129
ANC06LA129

On August 29, 2006, about 1930 Alaska daylight time, a Piper J5A airplane, N35395, sustained substantial damage when it nosed over during an emergency landing, following a complete loss of engine power in cruise flight, about 41 miles northeast of North Pole, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal local flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The private certificated pilot and sole passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed Bradley Sky Ranch, North Pole, about 1840.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on September 13, the pilot stated that he performed a thorough preflight inspection of the airplane prior to the local flight. He said there were no signs of fuel contamination, and the left wing fuel tank was about one-quarter full, and the right wing fuel tank was about three-quarters full. He said the takeoff and flight were uneventful until the airplane lost engine power. The pilot said he had the left wing fuel tank selected, and was cruising about 2000 feet above ground level (agl) when the engine lost power. He stated that he switched tanks, and turned the airplane toward the only open ground in the vicinity. The airplane's engine failed to restart, and an emergency landing was made in a marsh, covered with tussock grass and 6 inches of water. The pilot said when the airplane touched down it rolled about 30 feet before it nosed over. The pilot felt that the engine had probably run out of fuel, and that what he observed in the fuel level sight tube was inaccurate.

In a written statement to the NTSB, the pilot reported that the airplane was equipped with "U" tube type fuel level indicators in the wing roots. He said he believed that trapped fuel in the indicators gave him a false indication of the fuel quantity in the tanks, and reiterated his feeling that the loss of power was due to fuel starvation. He also noted in the section, Recommendation (How Could This Accident Have Been Prevented): "timing in fuel management."

The airplane was not examined by the NTSB.



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