NTSB Identification: CHI04LA101.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 06, 2004 in Overland Park, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N5844P
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.
The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing at night after a loss of engine power. The pilot reported that he had flown from IXD to 7W5, a distance of 519 nautical miles, earlier in the day and that the flight had taken 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete. The airplane was topped off with fuel and the fuel receipt indicated that 38.56 gallons were added. The airplane's fuel tanks held 60 gallons total fuel with 54 gallons useable. The pilot reported that he calculated that the airplane used approximately 12 gallons of fuel per hour. The return flight departed at 2020 cdt and the pilot reported that the engine started running rough at 3 hours and 28 minutes into the flight. He switched the fuel boost pump on and switched the fuel selector from the right to left fuel tank. The pilot reported, "At approximately 2 minutes of running on the left tank the engine started running rough and failed." The pilot executed a forced landing to a grassy area adjacent to a well-lighted street. During the landing rollout, the airplane's wing struck a tree branch. The inspection of the fuel tanks revealed the fuel tanks were dry. The passenger reported that the "first tank ran dry roughly 40 miles from our destination…" and "there were two airports only a couple of miles in front of us. I suggested to him that we land and refuel at one of the airports…" The pilot told the passenger there was enough fuel remaining to land at the destination airport. The pilot had a total of 3,605 flight hours with 10 flight hours in make and model. The passenger reported that the GPS indicated that there was a slight right-quartering headwind of 7 - 10 knots, and it showed an average groundspeed of 130 - 135 knots. The airplane impacted the terrain about 0007 cdt, approximately 3.8 hours after departure. The airplane's Owner's Handbook indicated that the fuel consumption at 75% power at 6,000 feet pressure altitude is 14.1 gph.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate fuel calculations and the pilot's improper in-flight decision which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing factors were the trees and the night conditions. Full narrative available
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