NTSB Identification: FTW96LA323.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 27, 1996 in MORIARITY, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/1996
Aircraft: Piper PA-25-235, registration: N7469Z
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 airplane took off from runway 26 on the fifth glider tow of the day. While climbing through 400 feet AGL, the engine lost power and the pilot executed a forced landing to a pasture. During touchdown, the airplane crossed a dirt road and the left main gear collapsed. The pilot stated that he performed a detailed preflight of the airplane prior to the first tow of the day, and found that the aircraft was serviced with 20 gallons of fuel. He further stated that 20 gallons is normally sufficient for 6 or 7 tows, but on the day of the accident the tows were 'exceptionally long due to the general subsidence of the air mass along with high density altitude.' Examination of the fuel system revealed that both fuel cells were empty.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's failure to refuel. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain available for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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