NTSB Identification: CHI00LA156.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 09, 2000 in INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N4142F
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During cruise flight, 10-miles from the destination airport, the engine quit. The pilot was able to restart the engine after selecting the other fuel tank. The engine experienced two subsequent power losses before the engine was unable to be restarted. The final engine failure was experienced 2-miles from the destination airport. The pilot stated that he executed a forced landing, but was unable to reach runway 19 and impacted the airport perimeter fence during the approach. The proposed flight was to depart Greenwood Municipal Airport (HFY), Greenwood, Indiana, fly to Waukegan Regional Airport (UGN), Waukegan, Illinois, and return to HFY. The pilot reported that he had planned on burning 10-gallons per hour, from which he calculated an endurance of 4-hours 48-minutes. The total duration of the trip, as recorded by the pilot's global positioning system unit, was 3-hours 52-minutes. The aircraft's HOBBS meter indicated that 3.9-hours had elapsed from the initial departure from HFY. The pilot indicated that his engine cruise setting was 2,350 rpm and that he had leaned the mixture when at cruising altitude. According to the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), appropriate for the serial number of the accident aircraft, the fuel flow was listed as 9.5 gallons/hour for a power setting of 65-percent of maximum power. The POH lists the maximum useable fuel capacity as 48-gallons. Utilizing 48-gallons of useable fuel and a flight time of 3.9-hours results in a calculated fuel flow of approximately 12.307 gallons/hour. Post-accident investigation failed to find any fuel in the fuel strainer bowl, fuel line leading to the carburetor, or fuel filter located on the electric fuel pump. The pilot reported that he first experienced engine power interruptions approximately 10-miles north of the destination airport. There was an airport, Post-Air Airport (7L8), Indianapolis, Indiana, located 028.4 degrees-magnetic from the destination airport at a distance of 8.1-nautical miles.

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

The improper in-flight decision of the pilot not to land at the nearest airport at the first loss of engine power. Factors to the accident were fuel exhaustion, the excessive fuel flow, and the airport perimeter fence.

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