NTSB Identification: CHI05LA069.
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Accident occurred Thursday, February 10, 2005 in Bolivar, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N5961P
Injuries: 3 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.
The airplane contacted trees and terrain on final approach to land following a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. The pilot reported he topped the airplane off prior to departure for the cross country flight. He stated he flew at 8,500 feet with a power setting of 2,400 rpm and 22" of manifold pressure. The pilot stated he leaned the mixture by pulling it back until the engine ran rough, then he increased the mixture until it ran smooth again. The pilot reported he became concerned about the amount of fuel on board when he noticed the "fuel gage drop" while en route. He contacted a nearby airport and inquired about obtaining fuel. The airport manager stated they did not have fuel services, but recommended another nearby airport for fuel. He reported the fuel in one of his fuel tanks was exhausted when he was about half way to the alternate airport and the other fuel tank was exhausted when he was in the traffic pattern to land. The pilot stated he miscalculated the headwind and he turned final approach too far out from the runway. He stated the airplane got too low and the right wing contacted trees just before the airplane crashed on the golf course. The airplane had been airborne for approximately 4 hours prior to the fuel exhaustion. Post accident inspection of the airplane revealed no evidence of fuel at the accident site or in either of the airplane's fuel tanks.
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 inaccurate preflight and inflight planning which resulted in an inadequate fuel supply for the flight, and the subsequent fuel exhaustion. A factor associated with the accident was the trees that the airplane contacted during the landing. Full narrative available
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