NTSB Identification: CHI06LA031.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 12, 2005 in Milwaukee, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N2241P
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 airplane sustained substantial damage when it impacted power lines at night during an emergency descent after a loss of engine power. The pilot reported that he departed on the flight in order to keep current at night flying and to practice night takeoffs and landings. He reported that rain was forecast for later that night, but that the sky was clear and "bumpy" after departure. He ran into light rain and decided to return to the departure airport before the weather got any worse. He reported that the engine quit and he executed a forced landing to a "desolate street," but impacted wires. The airplane remained tangled in the power line wires, and emergency personnel removed the pilot from the suspended airplane about 2 hours later. The inspection of the airplane revealed that the left fuel tank contained no fuel, and that fuel "poured" out of the right fuel tank when it was drained of fuel. The fuel tanks were not compromised, and there were no fuel leaks from either tank. The fuel selector was selected to the left fuel tank. The flight duration was about 2.3 hours. The pilot's blood was tested for the presence of alcohols. The blood ethanol concentration was 0.286 grams per 100 milliliters. The FAA FAR Part 91.17 legal limit is 0.04. The pilot's FAA medical records revealed that the pilot had a history of alcohol-related traffic offenses since at least 20 years of age (17 years prior to the accident). The manager of the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division sent a letter to the pilot on June 26, 2002, which noted, "Our review of your medical records has established that you are eligible for a second-class medical certificate. ... Continued airman medical certification remains contingent upon your total abstinence from use of alcohol. ..." There is no indication of any additional requirement for evaluation or follow up. The pilot's most recent Application for 2nd Class Medical Certificate, dated April 21, 2005 indicated "no" in response to "HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH, HAD, OR DO YOU PRESENTLY HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ... Alcohol dependence or abuse." The pilot held a current second class medical certificate dated April 21, 2005.

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

The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's fuel mismanagement. Factors to the accident included the pilot's impairment due to alcohol, the FAA's inadequate oversight when it issued the pilot a second class medical certificate, the power lines, and night.

Full narrative available

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