NTSB Identification: MIA99FA031.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 07, 1998 in CHATTANOOGA, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N44240
Injuries: 2 Minor,1 Uninjured.

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.

The pilot did not obtain a preflight weather briefing or determine the true airspeed for the 593 statute mile 2 leg cross country flight; he assumed indicated airspeed was the ground speed. The flight departed on the first leg with fuel tanks slightly less than full and arrived uneventfully 3.5 hours later. Fuel was not purchased and the flight departed on the second leg. While near the destination airport, the engine quit due to fuel exhaustion. At that time the fuel gauges each indicated approximately 2-3 gallons remaining. While descending for the forced landing, the airplane collided with trees then the ground. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of fuel leakage in flight. Approximately 4 ounces of fuel were drained from the carburetor and from the gascolator. Fuel lines in the engine compartment were empty. Approximately 1/2 ounce of fuel was drained from the right wing fuel tank. No engine failure or malfunction noted. The pilot further stated that during the entire flight time, the mixture control was in the full rich position. Fuel consumption calculations performed for the flight by FAA personnel revealed 47.79 gallons of fuel used out of a total of 48 gallons of usable fuel.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision which led to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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