NTSB Identification: SEA91LA247.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 43952.
Accident occurred Thursday, September 19, 1991 in ARCO, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N7985P
Injuries: 1 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 AIRCRAFT WAS PARKED ON A SLOPE LEFT WING LOW AND HAD BEEN EXPOSED TO RAIN PRIOR TO THE FLT. THE PLT SUMPED ALL 4 FUEL TANKS AND THEN VISUALLY DETERMINED THAT HE HAD SUFFICIENT FUEL FOR THE 1 HOUR FLT TO DESTINATION. AFTER DEPARTING ON THE RIGHT MAIN TANK AND BRIEFLY USING BOTH AUX TANKS AND APPROXIMATELY 30 MINUTES INTO THE FLT HE SWITCHED TO THE LEFT MAIN TANK AND THE ENGINE BEGAN MISSING. BELIEVING THAT HE HAD NO FUEL IN THE LEFT TANK HE SWITCHED TO THE LEFT AUX WHICH HE EXHAUSTED AND BACK TO RIGHT MAIN WHICH WAS ALSO EXHAUSTED. AFTER A TOTAL OF 55 MINUTES OF FLT AND WHILE APPROACHING HIS DESTINATION HE WAS UNABLE TO MAINTAIN POWER ON THE RIGHT AUX AND EXECUTED A FORCED LDG. DURING THE APPROACH HE DETERMINED THAT POWER LINES INTERFERED WITH HIS LANDING AND MANEUVERED TO AN ALTERNATE LDG SITE. THIS MANEUVER RESULTED IN THE PILOT'S INABILITY TO SAFELY FLARE DUE TO SINK RATE AND LOW AIRSPEED AND A HARD LDG FOLLOWED. A TOTAL OF 5 GALLONS OF FUEL WAS DRAINED FROM THE LEFT MAIN TANK SUBSEQUENT TO THE FORCED LDG.

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

WATER IN THE FUEL TANK AND THE INABILITY OF THE PILOT TO FLARE FOR LANDING AFTER MANEUVERING TO AVOID TRANSMISSION LINES IN HIS FLIGHT PATH DURING THE FORCED LANDING.

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