ERA09LA308
ERA09LA308

On May 26, 2009, about 1150 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N1669H made an emergency landing after a total loss of engine power near Walker County Airport, Jasper, Alabama. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot received minor injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was owned and operated by Walker County Aviation LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed Walker County Airport, Jasper, Alabama, at 1100 central daylight time.

The CFI stated that prior to the instructional flight, the airplane was refueled to approximately ¾ full of fuel in the left main tank. He said that he checked the right fuel tank and it was full. The CFI taxied the airplane to runway 27 to conduct touch and go landings with his student. He said that the fuel selector was positioned in the left tank during the course of the flight. After approximately seven touch and go landings, during climbout, between 200-300 feet, the engine stopped running and the propeller began to windmill. He told the student pilot "my airplane," and lowered the nose. The engine started briefly, and he advised the student to switch fuel tanks. He stated that "he did not know if the student switched fuel tanks." The engine stopped again, and he made an emergency landing in a field.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the left main fuel tank was depleted of fuel. The right main fuel tank was full of fuel, and fuel continuity was established from the fuel tank to the carburetor. The FAA inspector said that a mechanic that assisted the pilots after the accident stated that the fuel selector was in the left tank position after the accident. The FAA inspector conducted an examination of the engine and did not find any mechanic anomalies that would have prevented the engine from operating normally. No other flight control or mechanical anomalies were noted.

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