NTSB Identification: ERA09CA018
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 14, 2008 in Repton, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N7314J
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 pilot and his passenger were performing aerial observations, checking paper mill inventories. After approximately three hours of flying, they made an intermediate stop. No attempt was made to purchase fuel at the airport. During the return leg, the left fuel gauge read zero, so the pilot switched to the right tank. The engine began to lose power when the right tank read zero. The pilot switched back to the left tank and was able to restore power for about two more minutes, then the engine quit again. Unable to restore power, he made a forced landing in a wooded area. The airplane collided with trees and came to rest inverted. An A and P mechanic who recovered the wreckage reported that there was no fuel in the tanks and no evidence of fuel leakage on the ground.

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

Fuel exhaustion due to the pilot's inadequate preflight planning.

Full narrative available

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