NTSB Identification: NYC96LA183.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 09, 1996 in CLOSTER, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/23/1996
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N1792T
Injuries: 2 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 had been airborne for 4 hours, 20 minutes, on an aerial observation flight, in a Piper PA-28-140, and was returning to his departure airport, when the engine lost power. He switched fuel tanks, but was unable to get the engine running again. He made a forced landing on a golf course. During the ground roll, the left wing struck a tree, which ruptured the fuel tank and bent the wing backwards. Examination of the airplane revealed that the right wing fuel tank was empty, and there was no evidence of a fuel spill from the ruptured left wing fuel tank. The pilot reported that he had departed with 36 gallons onboard and planned on a fuel burn of 7 gallons per hour.

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

The pilot's improper fuel management, which resulted in a power loss due to fuel exhaustion, followed by the airplane striking a tree during a forced landing.

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