NTSB Identification: IAD05LA105.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 20, 2005 in Copake, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N7767N
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 pilot stated that the airplane was fueled to a point just above the "tabs" in the fuel tanks, which he estimated to be 40 gallons of fuel. After his preflight, he departed on a cross country flight, and climbed to 5,500 feet msl. After descending to 2,500 feet msl, the engine began to "sputter" and lost power. After advising Air Traffic Control (ATC) of his problem, ATC advised the pilot of the closest airport. During the descent, the pilot attempted to restart the engine without result. The propeller continued to windmill and no fuel pressure was indicated. He tried to start the engine again, and switch tanks, but again the engine did not start. He continued to glide the airplane to the airport which ATC had identified, but realized he would not make it, and decided to attempt an off airport landing. On approach to a field, he passed over some trees and a house, and selected "full flaps" for landing. The field was "too short," and after gliding the length of the field, the airplane impacted trees and was substantially damaged. The airplane had been airborne for approximately 1 hour and 42 minutes. During an interview, the pilot stated "that he had over 5 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank and 15 to 20 gallons in the right fuel tank." Examination of the fuel system revealed that, the carburetor bowl was dry. No fuel was visible in the fuel tanks and no evidence of fuel staining or spillage was present at the accident site.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning which resulted in fuel exhaustion and subsequent loss of engine power.

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