NTSB Identification: SEA05CA082.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 15, 2005 in McCammon, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N8715E
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Prior to departing on the second leg of the cross-country flight the pilot filled both fuel tanks to capacity, 48 usable gallons, equating to 4.8 hours of flight time. After completing the second leg of the flight, which took 3 hours and 35 minutes (3.58 hours), and unable to purchase fuel at the intermediate stop, the pilot calculated he had 1.22 hours of fuel remaining, more than enough to fly 65 miles to another airport where fuel was available. Approximately 20 minutes into the flight the engine began to run rough. The pilot switched tanks, which resulted in the engine running normal, but just as he was about to proceed to an alternate airport the second tank ran dry and the engine quit. An emergency landing to a field resulted in the airplane touching down, bouncing, and impacting two small trees. The airplane then struck a raised driveway before being launched back into the air and hitting the ground, shearing off both the front and left main landing gear. The aircraft came to rest in an upright position after sliding through a barbed wire fence. An FAA inspector confirmed the lack of fuel in both fuel tanks and substantial damage to both wings. The inspector also observed a homemade placard located above the fuel gage panel which read, "FUEL GAGES MAY INDICATE AS MUCH AS 2 1/2 GALLONS WHEN TANKS ARE EMPTY". The pilot reported no anomalies with the airplane prior to the accident, which would 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 inadequate in-flight decision/planning by failing to refuel while en route, resulting in fuel exhaustion. Factors contributing to the accident included the trees and fence. Full narrative available
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