NTSB Identification: FTW97LA316.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 17, 1997 in CALDWELL, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N6667P
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 a night cross-country flight from El Paso, Texas, to College Station, Texas, the aircraft's engine lost power about 3 hours 49 minutes after takeoff. The pilot reported that the right fuel tank quantity gauge was indicating a quarter tank of fuel remaining when the engine lost power. He estimated fuel endurance for the flight would be 4.33 hours. The pilot initiated a forced landing to Highway 36, and during the approach to the highway, he flashed the aircraft's landing light to warn the traffic of his intention to land. All of the traffic moved out of the way except for a pickup truck which the aircraft's left wing struck. After landing the pilot looked into the right fuel tank with a flash light, and the bottom of the fuel tank appeared to be 'buckled or bunched' up against the fuel quantity float. Examination of the right fuel tank revealed a damp fuel stain on the wing that originated from the filler cap, and there was no 'bulging' in the bottom of the tank. It was calculated that approximately 10 gallons of fuel had siphoned out during the flight.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion which resulted from a leaking fuel cap. Factors were the dark night conditions, and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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