NTSB Identification: CHI92FA053.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 46281.
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 11, 1991 in BERRIEN SPRINGS, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/23/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N6919P
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Serious.

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-RATED PASSENGERS REPORTED THE AIRPLANE WAS LOW ON FUEL AS THEY NEARED THEIR DESTINATION. THEY DISCUSSED AN INTERMEDIATE FUEL STOP, BUT DECIDED THEY HAD SUFFICIENT FUEL TO REACH THEIR DESTINATION. THE AIRPLANE WAS IN CRUISE FLIGHT APPROXIMATELY 80 MILES FROM THE DESTINATION AIRPORT WHEN THE ENGINE LOST POWER. THE INSTRUCTOR PILOT SWITCHED FROM THE RIGHT FUEL TANK TO THE LEFT TANK AND THE ENGINE RESTARTED. SEVERAL MINUTES LATER THE ENGINE LOST POWER AGAIN. RESTART ATTEMPTS WERE UNSUCCESSFUL, AND THE PILOT TURNED TOWARDS THE NEAREST AIRPORT. THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED TREES ABOUT 1 1/2 MILES SHORT OF THE LANDING RUNWAY. POST-ACCIDENT EXAMINATION REVEALED NO EVIDENCE OF USEABLE FUEL IN THE AIRPLANE FUEL SYSTEM. THE PASSENGERS REPORTED IT WAS A DARK NIGHT, AND THE AIRPLANE HIT THE TREES AFTER TURNING TO AVOID AN AREA WITH RESIDENTIAL LIGHTS.

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

THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S (CFI'S) POOR IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION-MAKING AND MISJUDGED FUEL SUPPLY/CONSUMPTION. A RELATED FACTOR IS OVERCONFIDENCE IN PERSONAL ABILITY.

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