NTSB Identification: DEN03LA009.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 18, 2002 in Salt Lake City, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N33170
Injuries: 1 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 estimated there was 32 to 33 gallons of fuel on board (the fuel level was just below the tabs in the tank, which indicate approximately 17 gallons in each tank) when he took off. Approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes later, the engine began "running rough." The pilot declared an emergency and was cleared to land at the international airport. The engine then lost all power and the propeller began windmilling. At best glide speed, the pilot was unable to glide to the airport and made a forced landing on a cloverleaf of an interstate highway. During the landing the airplane struck a corrugated metal drainage culvert, collapsing the nose and right main landing gear. The salvage company that retrieved the airplane drained slightly more than 1 quart of fuel from both fuel tanks and the fuel strainer. No fuel stains were noted on the wings or underneath of the fuselage.

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

fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight planning. A contributing factor was the pilot's decision to continue the flight without stopping for fuel.

Full narrative available

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