The Engine Sputtered Once And Stopped Producing Power

Location: Omaha, NE Accident Number: CEN21LA242
Date & Time: May 30, 2021, 09:55 Local Registration: N8501Z
Aircraft: Piper J4A Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On May 30, 2021, about 0955 central daylight time, a Piper J4A airplane, N8501Z, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Omaha, Nebraska. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

During the preflight, the pilot reported that he filled the main fuel tank to the top and the auxiliary fuel tank had four gallons of fuel inside. The pilot planned on departing from the North Omaha Airport (3NO), Omaha, Nebraska, for flight operations in the airport’s traffic pattern. Before the takeoff, the fuel selector was positioned for the main fuel tank. During the takeoff, the airplane traveled about three quarters down the runway and climbed to about 300 ft above ground level. The engine sputtered once and stopped producing power. The pilot switched the fuel selector to the auxiliary tank and unsuccessfully tried to restart the engine.

The pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing and the airplane came to rest in a heavily wooded area. The pilot reported that fuel was pouring in the cockpit after the airplane came to rest and he quickly egressed from the cockpit. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The wreckage was recovered from the accident site for a future examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller.