NTSB Identification: MIA98LA186.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 17, 1998 in HOLLY SPRINGS, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N8284W
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Approaching the refueling airport, the engine lost power and the pilot was forced to land in a cornfield about 7 miles short of the airport, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot, who was acting as right seat copilot for the outbound trip, stated he realized the left fuel quantity gauge was not reliable because the needle did not move during that outbound trip. For the homebound trip, he was using the right fuel gauge and timing, assuming about 10 gallons per hour consumption rate for his en route fuel management. Examination of the wreckage site by FAA personnel revealed 1/2 to 3/8 inch of fuel in the bottom of the left fuel tank, no fuel in the right tank or fuel lines, and no evidence of fuel spillage.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight decision with the miscalculation of the fuel consumption. Operating with an unreliable fuel gage was a contributing factor.

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