NTSB Identification: ATL96FA022.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 14, 1995 in GREENWOOD, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-46-310P, registration: N9102V
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 was en route on a return flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Chamblee, Georgia, when the engine lost power. The pilot reported that he had 18 gallons of fuel in the right fuel tank and more than 25 gallons in the left fuel tank when the power loss occurred. He indicated that he switched from the right to the left fuel tank position. The pilot called on the UNICOM frequency to report that he was low on fuel and needed assistance in finding an airport. The pilot of another airplane gave him the vectors to the Greenwood airport. The last radio transmission heard from the pilot was "I'm over a four-lane highway…no more fuel." He later stated that instead of saying "no more fuel," he should instead have reported that he had "lost the engine." During the forced landing, the airplane struck two power lines and two utility poles and came to rest on its right side with the left wing in the near-vertical position. A power line penetrated the left wing, breaching the left fuel tank, but the left wing did not burn or explode. The fuel selector was selected to the left fuel tank. The right wing was separated from the fuselage, and the fuel tank was ruptured. A fire ensued. One witness stated that he saw fluid leaking from the left wing and onto the engine compartment. He stated that he assumed the fluid was aviation fuel because whenever it hit the engine compartment, the fire flared up. The second witness indicated that he smelled fuel and assumed fuel was sustaining the postcrash fire. When the airplane was turned upright, the day after the accident, less than 1 gallon of fuel was drained from the left fuel tank. The pilot reported that during his preflight inspection at the Peachtree-Dekalb Airport in Chamblee, he determined that the left and right wing fuel tanks each had more than 25 gallons of fuel. He added 15 gallons of fuel per tank for a total of 80 gallons. The airplane's total fuel capacity is 122 gallons, of which 120 gallons are usable. Safety Board staff calculated that the airplane burned 20 gallons of fuel per hour at 75 percent power. The total 2.2-hour flight was therefore calculated to have consumed about 44 gallons of fuel, not counting the fuel used to taxi, take off, and climb. The fuel remaining was therefore adequate to complete the flight. Examination of the engine did not disclose evidence of mechanical malfunction. At the time of the accident, the pilot had a total of 10 hours experience in this make and model airplane, all obtained over a period of about 4 years.

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

the loss of engine power for undetermined reason.

Full narrative available

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