NTSB Identification: DFW05CA146.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 05, 2005 in Waller, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-25-235, registration: N7220Z
Injuries: 1 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.

The 563-hour private pilot completed 11 glider tows prior to the accident. Prior to the twelfth flight, he determined that he had enough fuel to complete one or two more flights, based on the how the fuel gauge needle was fluctuating in the cockpit. The pilot departed on his twelfth flight, and towed a glider to 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) about three miles west of the glider port. After releasing the glider, he turned east toward the glider port. When the airplane was approximately two miles from the glider port, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot entered a left downwind, and when he arrived at the north end of the glider port he felt he was too high and initiated a right 360-degree turn to lose altitude. However, the pilot said that his airspeed and altitude deteriorated quickly and he either "stalled the plane or entered an incipient spin." The pilot recovered near ground level and subsequently struck a tree with the left wing, which spun the airplane around before it came to rest. Examination of the fuel system revealed there was no fuel onboard the airplane.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulting in fuel exhaustion and a stall.

Full narrative available

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