NTSB Identification: MIA05CA100.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 07, 2005 in Fort Pierce, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N98117
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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.

After landing following an uneventful 1 hour 30 minute flight, the pilot reportedly visually checked the fuel tanks noting the fuel level in both was approximately 1/2 inch below the tab in each tank. The airplane was not flown following the inbound flight and the departure of the accident flight, nor was fuel purchased. The pilot noted during his preflight inspection the fuel level in both fuel tanks was the same level he observed following landing, and estimated that the flight departed with approximately 30 gallons of fuel on-board. After takeoff, the flight climbed to 8,500 feet where he noted the ground speed was 70-72 knots. After obtaining winds aloft, he elected to descend to 6,500 feet, and continued towards the destination. At a point in the flight when he was equal distance from the destination airport and an airport in the Bahamas, he elected to continue towards his destination. He descended to 3,500 feet when the flight was approximately 20 miles from the destination airport. The flight continued and when approximately 10 miles from the destination airport, the fuel supply in the right fuel tank was exhausted first, followed by the fuel supply in the left fuel tank. He ditched the airplane which nosed over after touchdown. The pilot did not perform fuel consumption calculations for either flight because he knew the historical fuel consumption.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision which resulted in fuel exhaustion. A contributing factor in the accident was the pilot's inadequate preflight planning/preparation to ensure an adequate fuel supply was available for the intended flight.

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