NTSB Identification: ERA12LA112
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 16, 2011 in Merry Hill, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration: N9279T
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 airplane was maneuvering at a treetop level toward an open field when the engine stopped producing power. The airplane then descended at a steep angle over the approach end of the field and collided with terrain, nosed over, and came to rest inverted. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomaly. The left fuel tank was selected on the fuel selector, and no fuel was found in the left tank. There was no odor of fuel, and no fuel staining present around the tank. The right fuel tank was also empty, but there was some fuel blighting of the vegetation beneath the right fuel cap. The pilot/owner did not hold a pilot certificate.

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

Operation of the airplane by a non-certificated pilot. Contributing to the accident was the non-certificated pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed while making a forced landing following a total loss of engine power at low altitude, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. Also contributing was the pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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