NTSB Identification: CHI08LA215
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 26, 2008 in Rio Grande, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/12/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-12, registration: N4361M
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

About four hours into the banner-towing flight the engine started to sputter and lost lower. The pilot reported that his inflight fuel burn calculations were based on fuel burn data gathered during the previous month. Using these data, the pilot thought he had about 15-20 minutes of fuel remaining when the engine lost power. The pilot made a forced landing near a residential area and the airplane struck a fence, resulting in substantial damage. A Federal Aviation inspector looked at the fuel tanks at the accident site and found they were empty. The pilot stated that "in order to reduce my total flight time and land with required fuel minimums, I should have turned inland at an earlier point."

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

A total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's inadequate fuel management.

Full narrative available

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