Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Beltzville, Pa. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: Before launching on the instructional flight, the flight instructor completed a preflight inspection and noted that each wing fuel tank contained about 18 gallons of fuel. At the conclusion of the flight, while returning to the airport, the engine experienced a total loss of power.
The CFI maneuvered for a forced landing to a field while conducting the emergency landing checklist, however, he did not change the fuel tank selector position. The airplane touched down in the field and collided with a row of trees, resulting in substantial damage to both wings.
During the post-accident examination, about 18 gallons of fuel was observed in the left wing tank, and about 8 ounces of fuel was drained from the right wing tank. A fuel line was plumbed to the engine, and the engine started and ran through all power settings with no anomalies observed.
Probable cause: The flight instructor’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.
NTSB Identification: ERA13CA011
This October 2012 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.