NTSB Identification: FTW02LA018.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 19, 2001 in Ozona, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-30, registration: N8642Y
Injuries: 4 Serious.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
During dark night light conditions, the pilot landed the airplane on an unlighted runway, taxied to the ramp, boarded the passengers, and taxied for the departure flight. The pilot had not refueled the airplane en route and fuel was not available at this airport. En route at 9,500 msl, the pilot requested and received VFR flight following to the planned refueling destination. Subsequently, the pilot decided to land the airplane for refueling at an en route airport. The pilot reported that he tried to activate the non-towered airport's runway lights and "there were no lights or rotating beacon operating at the airport." After approximately 20-30 minutes of flying over the town and looking for the airport, the left engine lost power, and the pilot feathered the left engine. Subsequently, the right engine lost power. The pilot performed the emergency landing procedures to a vacant lot, and during the approach, the airplane struck power lines. The pilot reported dark night light conditions, clear skies, visibility 30 miles with no restrictions to visibility, and calm wind. No evidence of fuel was found in either the area surrounding the accident site or in the aircraft's fuel tanks. No mechanical discrepancies were found that indicated the engines were incapable of producing power prior to the impact. A preset timer operates the runway lights at the low intensity and the taxiway lights; however, the intensity of the runway lights may be changed when the pilot keys the airplane microphone over the CTAF. Witnesses, the acting airport manager, and the FAA reported the runway lights and the rotating beacon were operational.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion resulting from the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane. Contributing factors were the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing and the dark night conditions. Full narrative available
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