Aircraft: Piper Pacer. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: McKinleyville, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The 150-hour pilot, who had recently bought the Piper, had only five hours in the plane. He was flying his first cross-country in it. He thought the fuel selector was positioned to both tanks, however, it was positioned to the left tank for the entire trip. On short final at his destination, the engine lost power due to fuel starvation.
The pilot performed a forced landing, which bent and wrinkled the fuselage and wings.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s lack of experience in the airplane and his lack of knowledge regarding the fuel system.
NTSB Identification: WPR12CA340
This August 2012 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.