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N82943 accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location 45.061667°N, 93.353333°W
Nearest city Minneapolis, MN
44.979965°N, 93.263836°W
7.1 miles away
Tail number N82943
Accident date 22 Apr 2004
Aircraft type Piper PA-18-150
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On April 22, 2004, at 0745 central daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N82943, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during an in-flight collision with a power-pole and terrain during a forced landing near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The airplane was on initial climb from runway 24L (2,122 feet by 202 feet, dry turf) at the Crystal Airport (MIC) when the loss of engine power was encountered. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and the intended destination was Maple Lake Municipal Airport (MGG), Maple Lake, Minnesota.

According to the pilot, the airplane was completely fueled with 100 low-lead aviation fuel prior to the accident flight. The pilot reported the fuel samples he took during the aircraft preflight were not contaminated with water. The pilot stated the airplane was taxied on the right main fuel tank, and he switched to the left fuel tank prior to departing runway 24L as required by the pilot operating handbook. The pilot reported that he experienced an uneventful takeoff ground run, rotation, and initial climb until approximately 150 feet above ground level (agl) when the engine lost power suddenly. The pilot reported he switched fuel tank positions, verified the magneto switch was on both, and the throttle and mixture controls were fully advanced. The pilot reported, "Because of the suddenness and completeness of the loss of [engine] power, I suspected either fuel starvation or an ignition problem." The pilot stated, "I changed the tank selector at least two more times, and got ready to crash." The pilot stated that a landing on runway 24L was not an option and he maneuvered the airplane in between two houses prior to striking a power pole and several trees. The pilot stated the airplane came to rest inverted and that fuel was pouring from both sides of the cabin.

Local fire and police departments responded to the accident. A fire department employee reported the fuel selector was found in the "off" position upon his arrival at the accident site. The pilot reportedly said he did not reposition the fuel selector after the accident.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors performed the on-scene investigation. The wreckage was photo documented at the accident site prior to being repositioned to the departure airport. The engine was subjected to an operational test-run. The engine started without hesitation and ran at idle power (~700 rpm) without any anomalies. The engine responded to brief throttle increases (~1,200 rpm) prior to being shutdown. The engine was not run above 1,200 rpm due to a damaged propeller.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot not verifying the position of the fuel selector prior to the takeoff, resulting in the loss of engine power during initial climb due to fuel starvation. Factors to the accident were the power pole and the trees.

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