NTSB Identification: LAX98FA064.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 30, 1997 in WHITE HILLS, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-11, registration: N5532H
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

When the pilot failed to return from a local flight a search was initiated and the aircraft was found about 3 miles southeast of the departure airstrip. The aircraft collided with near level desert terrain at a 45-degree angle with no signs of rotation. The engine and accessories were examined and determined to be free of discrepancies. One propeller blade exhibited signs of rotation. A tachometer needle imprint was found about 975 rpm. An unquantified amount of fuel was present in the left wing fuel tank. The fuel system was approved for and operating on automobile gasoline. Internal fuel hose deteoriation was present obstructing a fuel sight gauge vent line and coupling hoses. Minor contamination was present in the fuel gascolator bowl along with a rust-colored water line. The aircraft was being operated without the front seat. Both rear seat belt attach points (.090 steel wire around 4130 steel tubing) had separated. No shoulder harness was installed.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the aircraft for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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