NTSB Identification: DFW05FA028.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 05, 2004 in Hammond, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N4750L
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The 87-hour non-instrument rated private pilot departed on the return portion of a 58.7 nautical mile cross country flight at night in marginal VFR weather conditions, which included five miles visibility in mist and an overcast ceiling at 500 feet. As the pilot approached his destination airport, a witness who was an automobile mechanic, heard the airplane flying low overhead from south to north. Although he could not see the airplane, he said that it was flying "low" and that the engine sounded "good." Shortly after the airplane flew over his house, the engine started to "miss out" as if it was "starving for fuel." Examination of the airplane revealed that the cockpit, forward fuselage, and the inboard section of the left wing, including the fuel tank were consumed by post-impact fire. However, the right wing, including the fuel tank were undamaged. The fuel selector was found set to the right fuel tank position. No mechanical deficiencies were noted with the airplane or the engine that could have prevented normal operations.

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

A loss of engine power due to the pilot's in-flight mismanagement of the available fuel supply by his failure to switch fuel tank position, which resulted in fuel starvation. Factors were the low ceilings and the prevailing dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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