NTSB Identification: ERA10CA417
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 12, 2010 in St. Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/11/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-260, registration: N254AB
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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.

According to the pilot, he departed with the airplane's fuel tank full (75 gallons) for the local banner towing flight. He flew for about 3 hours and 30 minutes and then initiated a return to the airport. During the return flight, at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet, the airplane's engine lost power. Just prior to the power loss, while the airplane was in a climb, the pilot noted that the fuel gauge indicated 30 gallons of fuel remained. The pilot released the banner and performed a forced landing on a road.

A postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed approximately 8-10 ounces of fuel remained in the single main fuel tank. The main fuel feed line at the bottom of the fuel tank fuel valve contained a few ounces of fuel. The fuel tank was filled with 30 gallons of fuel to test the accuracy of the fuel gauge, which read 33 gallons of fuel. The engine was test run on the airframe. It started and ran at full power with no anomalies noted. According to the airplane's Operating Handbook, the engine burns an average of 14-16 gallons of fuel per hour, at power settings likely used by the pilot. The fueler who fueled the airplane stated that he filled the airplane to a capacity of 68 gallons of fuel, which is what the pilot specifically requested. The examination revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction.

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

The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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