On the Record: Piper PA-12

Brief accident report from the NTSB.

NTSB Seal
NTSB SealNTSB

Piper PA-12

Burnet, Texas/Injuries: 2 Uninjured

The flight instructor of the amphibious float-equipped airplane reported that after an instructional lesson, while returning to the airport, the student pilot was too low "while turning base leg" of the traffic pattern so the student pilot moved the throttle forward to add power, but the engine did not respond. The flight instructor further reported that he took control of the airplane and made an off-airport landing. During the landing, the airplane impacted a low-hanging tree limb.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing.

A post-accident examination by the Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector revealed that the fuel tanks contained less than 1 gallon of fuel on board the airplane.

The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause(s): The student pilot's failure to maintain adequate fuel levels, which resulted in fuel starvation, a loss of engine power and a forced landing. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor's failure to monitor the fuel levels.