NTSB Identification: CHI06LA187.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 11, 2006 in Steubenville, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-135, registration: N9841Q
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.

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted power lines and subsequently impacted the ground. The airplane came to rest on a highway that runs through an east-west gap in a line of small mountains. Power lines cross this gap approximately perpendicular to the roadway and were strung between towers on ridges on either side of the road. The towers stood about 80 feet tall and the ridges were about 380 feet above the roadway. The power line that was struck was not the uppermost wire and was about 243 feet above the road. The power lines were not marked with high visibility devices, nor were the towers lighted. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying at a low altitude along the roadway and then striking the power lines. The fuel selector valve was positioned for the left fuel tank. Both fuel tanks were found to be empty. The left fuel tank was damaged but not ruptured, and the right fuel tank was ruptured. A fuel odor was present at the accident site and fuel consumption calculations predicted that the fuel used for the flight would not have exceeded the capacity of the selected fuel tank. No preimpact anomalies were found with respect to the airplane, its engine, or systems.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the unmarked power line which resulted in the subsequent impact with the roadway. Factors were the unmarked power line, and the low altitude at which the flight was conducted.

Full narrative available

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