NTSB Identification: CEN09FA377
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 23, 2009 in Sanborn, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/29/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N7795N
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Prior to the flight, the airplane was refueled with 12 gallons of fuel; however, the total fuel on board at the time of departure could not be determined. During the 3-hour cross-country flight, the airplane overflew several airports that had fuel services available. Witnesses, located near the accident site, observed the airplane flying low and heard the engine lose power, restart, and lose power again. The pilot executed a forced landing to a corn field, the airplane impacted a ditch, and was substantially damaged. No evidence of usable fuel was found in the airplane fuel tanks, or at the accident site. Examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operations.

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

A loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's improper fuel planning and failure to refuel.

Full narrative available

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