NTSB Identification: NYC97FA069.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 06, 1997 in FARMINGVILLE, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/04/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N4400T
Injuries: 3 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.

During an ILS runway 24 approach, the engine lost power. According to the pilot, he switched fuel tanks & applied carburetor heat, then the engine restarted. He informed ATC, & was advised to maintain present heading to the airport. He stated that as the airplane descended below an overcast (about 600 ft agl), the engine lost power again. He switched tanks, & the engine restarted. The pilot started to land on a road, but due to traffic on the road, he elected to turn back toward the airport. The engine lost power a 3rd time. Subsequently, the airplane hit the top of a large tree during a forced landing, then came to rest against a house. During investigation, less than a quart of fuel was drained from the fuel system. During an operational check, the engine started on the 1st attempt & operated satisfactory to 2500 rpm. Duration of flight was about 3.6 hrs. En route, the flight was at an altitude of 4,000 ft msl, except about 16 minutes of flight was at 6,000 ft. The airplane's fuel capacity was 50 gallons. According to fuel consumption charts, the airplane's consumption rates with a lean fuel mixture were 10, 9.3, and 8.7 gallons per hour (gph), respectively, at 75, 70, and 65 percent of power. The pilot reported the normal fuel consumption rate was a consistent 10.5 gph. During the previous flight, the airplane was flown 2.2 hrs. The airplane was then refueled with 30.6 gallons of fuel.

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

the pilot's improper inflight planning/decision, which subsequently resulted in fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power. Related factors were: excessive fuel consumption rate, and obstructions (trees and house) in the emergency landing area.

Full narrative available

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