NTSB Identification: MIA99LA058.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 26, 1998 in KNOXVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N32679
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

While approaching his destination airport, the pilot switched to the right fuel tank, believing he had 40 minutes of fuel remaining in each tank. About 10 minutes later, the fuel pressure dropped and the engine lost power. The pilot switched back to left fuel tank and the engine restarted. The pilot asked for priority handling from ATC and as he approached the airport, the engine quit. He made a forced landing in a residential area. Post crash examination showed the aircraft contained no usable fuel and there was no evidence of fuel leakage from the aircraft in flight or after the accident. Examination of the engine showed no evidence of precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The carburetor throat did have dark staining consistent with operating with a rich fuel mixture. The pilot stated the flight departed with 48 gallons of fuel. The flight had flown 4.7 hours since departure at the time of engine failure, indicating a fuel consumption of about 10.1 gallons of fuel per hour. The pilot stated the engine normally consumed 9 gallons of fuel per hour and he leans the fuel mixture in cruise flight in accordance with the manufacturers procedures.

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

The engines excessive fuel consumption for undetermined reasons and the pilot's failure to plan the flight with adequate fuel reserves resulting in engine failure due to fuel exhaustion.

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