NTSB Identification: ATL06LA094.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 20, 2006 in Wilkesboro, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N5626P
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to witnesses at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Kissimmee, Florida, the pilot departed for Sandusky, Ohio, with a planned refueling stop in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The pilot topped off the fuel tanks before departing Kissimmee at 0830. While en route, the pilot reported to the Jacksonville Center, that he had a vacuum pump malfunction and elected to return to Kissimmee, and landed there at 0945. A mechanic removed and replaced the vacuum pump and the pilot departed again to continue his original trip at 1230. There was no record of the pilot adding fuel after he returned to Kissimmee. The flight proceeded uneventfully at 9,500 feet until 1555, when the pilot made a distress call saying he was out of fuel and descending. According to the FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) for the Piper PA-24-250, the airplane's total fuel capacity is 60 gallons, or 30 gallons in each wing tank with 4 gallons being unusable. According to witnesses the pilot topped the airplane off with fuel prior to his first flight on the day of the accident. The aircraft flew 1 hour and 15 minutes on its first leg, and 3 hours and 25 minutes on its second leg, for a total flight time of 4 hours and 40 minutes. According to the Piper Comanche Owner's Handbook Power Setting Table - Lycoming Model O-540-A, 250 HP Engine, at 75 percent of the engine's rated horse power the fuel consumption would be approximately 14.0 gallons of fuel per hour.

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

The pilot's improper fuel consumption calculations and improper in-flight planning/decision which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion, a forced landing, and collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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