NTSB Identification: NYC99LA031.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 25, 1998 in RENO, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N7177W
Injuries: 2 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 airplane departed on a cross country flight with full fuel tanks. The pilot flight-planned for 4 hours of flight, but after 2 1/2 hours noticed the 'fuel gauges looked unusually low.' He diverted to an airport, and 1/2 hour later, about 2 nautical miles from that airport, the engine lost power. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field. Post flight inspection revealed evidence of slight fuel leakage at the carburetor fuel inlet fitting, a pinhole leak in the fuel primer line, and a very slight fuel stain emanating from the left wing fuel cap. There was no evidence of faulty fuel gauges at low fuel levels. A review of the local sectional aeronautical chart revealed that the pilot selected an airport which was ahead, and along the intended route. However, there were numerous other airports which were closer, and could have been selected, but were not along the intended route.

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

The pilot's disregard of the information provided by the fuel gauges, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Factors in the accident included leaks in the fuel system, and the pilot's reliance on using timing alone to determine fuel consumption.

Full narrative available

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