NTSB Identification: WPR10CA267
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 28, 2010 in Palo Alto, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/21/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N2865M
Injuries: 1 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 stated that prior to departing on a cross-country flight the "airplane was topped [off with fuel] prior to the flight." Before the return trip the pilot visually checked the fuel level in the tanks and estimated that the right tank had 10 gallons and the left had 12 gallons of fuel. The pilot reported that while on final approach to the destination airport the "engine began to sputter" and lost power. He attempted to perform an engine restart, including switching the fuel selector to another tank, but was unsuccessful. The airplane subsequently impacted terrain short of the runway resulting in substantial damage to the right wing and firewall. In a verbal statement the pilot said that he "suspected a fuel management issue." An FAA inspector examined the airplane and found that the right fuel tank was empty and the left tank had approximately 3.5 gallons of fuel. According to the FAA inspector the fuel tanks were still intact and there was no evidence of a fuel leak.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A total loss of engine power on final approach due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's inadequate fuel management. Full narrative available
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