NTSB Identification: WPR10LA370
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 28, 2010 in Walla Walla, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N57PJ
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.

The pilot reported that he was going to conduct a local scenic flight, and had taken a Dramamine prior to takeoff in anticipation of turbulence over the mountains. Prior to takeoff, the pilot reported that the fuel tanks were full and that he took off with the fuel selector on the right fuel tank. About 1/2 hour into the flight he reported to air traffic control that he was at 10,600 feet and had an anomaly with the airplane. The controller reported that over the next hour, the pilot could not determine the nature of the emergency. According to the controller, with each successive pilot transmission, the pilot's voice was sounding more uneven and his speech rate was slowly deteriorating. Thereafter, the pilot stopped responding to air traffic control. Radar track data of the airplane's flight revealed various circles and a zigzag-like pattern leading up to the area of the crash site. A witness who saw the airplane land stated that the airplane fully stalled just above a wheat field. The airplane struck the ground extremely hard and nosed over. When the witness arrived on scene the pilot was unconscious. The witness also noted that he did not notice any gas leaking from the wings nor did he smell gas. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed the fuel selector valve was on the right tank and the right fuel tank was empty. Very little damage was noted to the propeller. The pilot reported that he has no recollection of any of the events leading up to the accident after the initial position report.

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

The pilot's partial incapacitation during cruise flight and his subsequent inadequate fuel management, which resulted in fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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