NTSB Identification: MIA98LA046.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 25, 1997 in COLUMBIA, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/28/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N9514K
Injuries: 4 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 flight departed and was uneventful until about 20 miles from the destination airport when the engine lost power. The engine was restarted and the pilot was advised of two alternate landing airports, but the pilot continued toward the planned destination. The engine quit several more times, once while directly overhead an airport. Unable to land at the destination airport, while descending for a forced landing, the airplane collided with a tree. About 3/4 to 1 cup and 1 cup of fuel were drained from the left and right fuel tanks respectively. The airplane was over gross at takeoff, but within weight and balance at the time of the accident. An open circuit of the left fuel tank transmitter was noted, but no determination was made as to the reason. The estimated time en route per the flight plan was 2 hours 5 minutes, but calculated post accident to be 3 hours 48 minutes. The actual time takeoff-to-landing was 3 hours 34 minutes. Based on the postaccident calculations, the total fuel consumption for the flight was about 37 gallons, with the flight departing with an estimated 38 gallons.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning, and his poor in-flight decision making.

Full narrative available

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