NTSB Identification: FTW97LA090.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, January 26, 1997 in BROWNSVILLE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N8478F
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.

During the landing approach, the airplane was about 1 mile from the runway threshold at an altitude of 500 feet AGL when the engine lost power. Total flight time was 4 hours and 18 minutes. The chief flight instructor found that the fuel tanks were intact with no fuel in the tanks or the gascolator. The assistant director of maintenance inspected the engine and the fuel system and found no discrepancies. The operator reported that the student was unable to produce any flight planning or fuel planning for the return flight. An ATC controller stated that the pilot had terminated flight following prior to maneuvering for approximately 15 minutes before proceeding to the destination airport. En route winds aloft were 150 degrees at 14 knots. The operator conducted a test flight in the make and model of airplane along the flight route with a headwind of 3 knots and the fuel used was 38.4 gallons (total usable fuel 46 gallons). The operator stated that 13 knot headwinds and 15 minutes of flight maneuvering would have deplete the remaining fuel.

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

the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane which led to fuel exhaustion and subsequent loss of engine power. Factors were the pilot's lack of preflight planning and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

Index for Jan1997 | Index of months