Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Aviation Accident

Quick Launch

NTSB Identification: CHI99LA066
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, January 16, 1999 in CREAL SPRINGS, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-260, registration: N3689W
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot said the airplane climbed to 5,000 feet above mean sea level. He said he attempted to adjust the mixture control, but was unable to do so because of a mechanical problem. According to the pilot, the engine stopped running about 30 minutes after switching to the left wingtip fuel tank. He said, 'I thought of changing the gas tank switch, but thought that I had at least 1 hour [of] gas in all of my tanks so I didn't.' While approachng a field in which to land the airplane collided with trees and the ground. The on-scene investigation revealed the fuel tanks had ruptured during the collision sequence. The fuel selector was found in the 'Left Tip Tank' position. No anomalies were found with the engine or its accessories that would have resulted in a loss of power. The Piper PA-32-260 Owner's Handbook provides the procedures on how to handle an 'Engine Power Loss in Flight.' Among the procedures to be followed is, '1. Fuel Selector- Switch to another tank containing fuel. 2. Electric Fuel Pump- On... .'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • was the pilot having the fuel tank selector in the improper position and not following the airplane manufacturer's emergency procedures to restore a loss of power. A factor in this accident was fuel starvation.