NTSB Identification: LAX00LA067.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 02, 1999 in PALO ALTO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N4319Y
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.
Prior to departure to return to home base, the pilot filed an IFR flight plan, conducted a preflight, and had the fuel tanks topped off. He flew on the left fuel tank for approximately 1 hour and then switched to the right fuel tank. Upon reaching his destination he noted multiple cloud layers, and requested and received an IFR clearance to his destination airport. About an hour later he switched back to the left fuel tank. He noted a drop to zero in the left fuel gage about 45 minutes later, and switched to the right tank, where he noted that the fuel gage read 5 gallons. He switched back to the left tank and the engine stopped; he switched back to the right tank and the engine restarted. He declared minimum fuel and received information on nearby airports; one 7 miles in his direction of flight, and his destination airport was 11 miles in his direction of flight. He continued the flight to the destination airport in order to lose altitude. He was at 4,000 feet, and traffic pattern altitude is 800 feet. He requested a straight in to a runway 30 even though 12 was the active runway. On short final, he initiated a go-around due to high speed, and high altitude. During the turn back to the runway the engine lost power and landed in a marshy area. There was no fuel observed in the tanks during the recovery of the airplane. During the engine examination it was noted that were was no fuel staining observed on the wings or fuselage of the airplane, and there were no leaks in the fuel system. No discrepancies were noted with the run-up.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure of the pilot to properly calculate fuel consumption rate, and his improper in-flight planning to continue the flight to the destination airport instead of landing at a closer alternate airport. A factor was the pilot's inadequate aircraft control during the descent, which necessitated a go-around. Full narrative available
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