NTSB Identification: FTW99FA021.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 07, 1998 in CONROE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N4726R
Injuries: 3 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.

During a dark night forced landing, following a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion, the airplane collided with terrain. On the flight plan for the flight from Searcy, AR, to Waco (ACT), TX, the airline transport pilot estimated 3 hrs 10 min flight time and 4 hrs fuel available. At 2 hrs 33 min into the flight, the pilot amended his destination to Conroe (CXO), TX, after receiving reports of instrument weather conditions at ACT and visual conditions at CXO. At 4 hrs 12 min into the flight, the pilot received clearance for an instrument approach to runway 14 at CXO. The pilot's acknowledgement of the clearance was the last radio communication received from the airplane. At 4 hrs 20 min into the flight, the last radar return showed the airplane 4 miles west-northwest of CXO. A witness observed the airplane fly over a road at a low altitude as though 'trying to land,' collide with a tree, hit a power line, and impact the ground. No discolored vegetation or fuel odor was noted at the accident site. One of the two fuel tanks was intact and contained 6 ounces of fuel. Including the accident flight and a 0.8-hr checkout flight, the 25,000-hr pilot had 8.6 hrs flight time in the accident airplane.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Factors were the dark night light conditions prevailing for the ensuing forced landing and the pilot's lack of experience in the make and model of airplane.

Full narrative available

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