DEN08LA082
DEN08LA082

On April 29, 2008, at 1957 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N303TE, piloted by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field one mile south of runway 04 at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries and the three passengers were not injured. The cross country flight departed Calhoun County Airport (PKV), Port Lavaca, Texas, approximately 1800, and was en route to HOU.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector who responded to the accident site, the airplane was on final approach for runway 04. The pilot reported that the engine lost power, as if someone had "flipped a switch." The pilot stated that the engine did not sputter and no abnormalities were noted prior to the loss of engine power. He reported that the fuel selector valve was selected for the left main tank. Following the power loss he selected the right tank, and then returned back to the left tank. During the forced landing, the nose landing gear separated, both main landing gear were compressed up through the top of the wings, the fuselage was wrinkled, and the propeller was bent. The FAA inspector observed fuel in all four fuel tanks.

On May 13, 2008, an examination and engine test run was conducted, under the auspices of the Safety Board. The engine was run utilizing the airplane's fuel system, except for an external fuel tank in lieu of the wing tanks. The engine started and operated through its full power band without interruption. During the last engine run, the fuel selector was placed between two of the tanks and the engine failed within 15 to 20 seconds. The examination of the airplane's engine and fuel system revealed no mechanical deficiencies.

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