NYC08LA034
NYC08LA034

On November 10, 2007, about 1600 central standard time, a Piper PA-28-151, N41535, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, following a total loss of engine power during the initial climb from David Lowe Airport (80KY), Sacramento, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the planned flight to Owensboro, Kentucky. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

According to the pilot's written statement, an annual inspection was completed on his airplane, and he arrived at 80KY to "pick up" the airplane. The pilot performed a preflight inspection, which included "sumping" the fuel tanks, and no contamination was observed in the fuel samples. He boarded the airplane and moved the fuel selector from the off position to the right fuel tank position. The pilot added that he recently had the airplane fueled to the "tabs," and estimated 17 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline in both fuel tanks during the accident takeoff. No discrepancies were noted during engine start, taxi, and run-up. During the initial climb from runway 16, a 1,700-foot-long, 100-foot-wide, turf runway, the engine lost all power about 60 feet above ground level. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing into a soybean field. After the landing, he turned off electrical power and moved the fuel selector from the right fuel tank position to the off position.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed damage to the nose gear and firewall. The fuel selector was observed in the off position, and moved to the right main fuel tank position. The engine then started and ran continuously up to 2,300 rpm. When the FAA inspector interviewed the pilot, the pilot stated that he was "pretty sure" and that he "thought so" when asked twice about having the fuel selector positioned to the right fuel tank during the accident takeoff.

The reported weather at an airport located about 20 miles north of the accident site, at 1556, was: wind from 180 degrees at 11 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 1,700 feet; broken ceiling at 2,200 feet; overcast ceiling at 6,000 feet; temperature 12 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 9 degrees C; altimeter 30.10 inches of mercury.

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