NTSB Identification: CHI01LA322.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 23, 2001 in Petoskey, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200T, registration: N952JW
Injuries: 2 Minor,5 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 pilot said that the previous evening they had flown from Pontiac, Michigan, to Mackinac Island. He said that he figured the people, baggage, and fuel for the trip and determined that there would be enough fuel to fly from Pontiac to Mackinac Island, and then from Mackinac Island to Pellston, Michigan. The pilot said he planned to refuel at Pellston because they don't sell fuel at the Mackinac Island Airport. He said that when he taxied out for departure from Mackinac Island, he had 12 gallons of fuel in each tank. He said that Pellston was 10 minutes away. After takeoff, the pilot contacted ARTCC and received vectors to the ILS approach for Pellston. The weather at Pellston was ceilings of 800 broken, 1,500 overcast, 2-1/2 miles visibility with moderate rain. While on the localizer, the pilot reported losing the localizer. ARTCC provided vectors to the localizer. The pilot informed the controller he was low on fuel. The pilot intercepted the localizer and reported he was established on the approach. Three minutes later, the pilot informed ARTCC he was missed approach. The ARTCC controller asked the pilot what his intentions were. The pilot said he was low on fuel and needed to get down, and requested if there was an airport nearby that had good visibility. The controller provided weather information for several airports and a pilot report for Charlevoix. After considering the options, the pilot elected to proceed to Charlevoix and then decided to go to Gaylord, Michigan. Approximately 6 minutes later, the pilot reported losing an engine. The controller told the pilot the Harbor Springs Airport (D87) was 8 miles southeast of his position and asked the pilot if he still wanted to go to Gaylord? The pilot said yes. The controller asked the pilot if he had any approach plates for D87. The pilot said that he didn't have enough fuel to make D87. The controller said that D87 was now 8 miles in front of him and that he was set up for the RNAV approach to runway 10. The pilot said he would need help with the instructions to fly the approach. The pilot and the controller exchanged information for the approach. Approximately 13 minutes after losing the first engine, the pilot reported losing his other engine. The controller gave the pilot vectors to get him back toward D87. The pilot said that when he came out of the clouds he was 300 to 400 feet above the water. He said he could see the shore to his left. The pilot made a 30-degree turn toward the shore. The pilot put the airplane down on the shoreline. The airplane nosed over. An examination of the airplane showed no anomalies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate preflight planning, the pilot's improper in-flight decisions, and the unsuitable terrain for landing. A factor relating to this accident was fuel exhaustion.
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