NTSB Identification: LAX06CA026.
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Accident occurred Monday, November 07, 2005 in Payson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N2111P
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 airplane impacted trees and terrain after experiencing a total loss of engine power during a night cross-country flight. The pilot notified air traffic control that he believed he had run his fuel tanks dry and was going to make a precautionary landing at a nearby airport. About 12 miles north of the diversion airport the airplane began to lose power, and every attempt to regain power failed. After the total loss of engine power the pilot maneuvered for an emergency landing but was unable to reach the airfield. Information obtained during the investigation revealed the pilot had flown non-stop from Prescott, Arizona, to Odessa, Texas, in 5.3 hours and used 45.3 gallons, for an approximate fuel burn rate of 8.56 gallons per hour (gph). The accident occurred on the return leg of the flight, also planned by the pilot as a nonstop from Odessa to Prescott. According to flight records and the Hobbs hour meter, the accident flight lasted 5.7 hours. With the 8.56 gph fuel burn, the pilot flew the airplane beyond its usable fuel level of 48 gallons. The pilot said there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures.

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

a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion, which was caused by the pilot's inadequate preflight and in-flight planning, his inadequate fuel consumption calculations, and his failure to divert to an alternate airport before the fuel situation became critical.

Full narrative available

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