NTSB Identification: LAX95LA268.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 23, 1995 in SANTA PAULA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N5388L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT WAS EN ROUTE BACK TO HIS ORIGIN AIRPORT ON A ROUND ROBIN CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT WHEN THE ENGINE QUIT AS HE NEARED THE DESTINATION. HE TOLD RESPONDING POLICE OFFICERS THAT HE RAN OUT OF GAS AND HAD TO LAND IN THE RIVERBED. ONLY RESIDUAL FUEL WAS FOUND IN THE AIRCRAFT FUEL TANKS BY THE OFFICERS. IN A TELEPHONE INTERVIEW, THE PILOT STATED THAT HE ORIGINALLY DID THE FLIGHT PLANING FOR THIS FLIGHT IN A CESSNA 172. HE STATED THAT HE HAD NEVER FLOWN THE PIPER PA28 BEFORE THIS FLIGHT. WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THE OPERATOR'S FBO, HE WAS TOLD THAT THE CESSNA 172 WAS UNAVAILABLE AND HE WAS OFFERED THE PIPER INSTEAD. THE PILOT SAID HE 'SHOULD HAVE REPLANNED THE FLIGHT, BUT WAS IN A HURRY.' HE ASSUMED THAT THE PIPER AND THE CESSNA HAD SIMILAR FUEL CONSUMPTION RATES. THE PILOT SAID HE DID NOT REFUEL IN LAS VEGAS BECAUSE HE THOUGHT HE HAD ENOUGH FOR THE RETURN TRIP.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

fuel exhaustion due to the pilot's failure to perform preflight fuel consumption calculations, and his failure to refuel the aircraft.

Full narrative available

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