NTSB Identification: ERA11LA457
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 16, 2011 in Graham, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/09/2012
Aircraft: PIPER AIRCRAFT INC PA-32R-301T, registration: N492ST
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 airplane was stolen during nighttime hours and flown at varying airspeeds and altitudes for about 2 hours before it impacted trees and terrain. Photographs of the accident scene revealed damage indicative of an almost vertical descent and consistent with a stall. There was no indication of engine power at the time of impact, and no significant amount of fuel was found at the scene, in the airplane, or seeped into the ground. An individual, who had previously held a student pilot certificate, was arrested 2 days after the event. The individual refused to provide a statement to authorities. Fuel prior to takeoff and power settings used could not be determined; however, with fuel exhaustion occurring after only 2 hours for an airplane that should have had considerably more endurance if fully fueled and operated correctly, it is likely that the individual mismanaged the rate of fuel consumption.

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

The individual's fuel mismanagement, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent engine failure. Contributing the accident was the individual’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed following the engine failure, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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