NTSB Identification: MIA95FA183.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 13, 1995 in HILTON HEAD ISL, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/25/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300, registration: N38188
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight departed Knoxville, TN, at 1220 edt with full fuel tanks. About 1 hour before the planned arrival at Hilton Head, SC, the pilot advised the FBO that the flight would be about 30 minutes late. The flight continued, and when near the airport, the pilot requested an airport advisory. He announced his intentions to enter a downwind leg and to make a long final approach to runway 3. Witnesses saw the airplane low on final approach, then observed that the airplane banked away from the airport, while descending. Subsequently, it collided with 80-foot tall trees, then a powerline, the ground, and a telephone pole. The airplane came to rest upright with the empennage separated aft of the wings. A postcrash fire destroyed the cockpit and cabin section. Examination of the flight controls revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Examination of the engine revealed water contamination at the fuel manifold and servo fuel injector. Operators of other airplanes, fueled by the same source on the same day, had no indication of fuel contamination.

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

loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, and the unsuitable terrain encountered during the emergency landing. A factor in the accident was the pilot's extension of the downwind leg which prevented landing on the intended runway following loss of engine power in the traffic pattern.

Full narrative available

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