NTSB Identification: CEN12LA460
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 20, 2012 in Rutland, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/19/2013
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 near the end of a 389-mile cross-country flight when the engine began to sputter. A witness reported that the airplane’s engine sputtered, went silent, restarted, sputtered, and again went silent. The airplane had completed a left turn toward a field when the nose dropped to a nearly 90-degree, nose-low attitude and descended toward the terrain, consistent with an aerodynamic stall. First responders found the airplane’s header fuel tank empty. Only a residual amount of fuel remained in the wing fuel tanks, and all other fuel areas were empty. An examination of the airplane did not detect any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The non-instrument rated pilot’s cruise altitude could not be verified; however, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight’s last 90 nautical miles. It is likely that the pilot not being instrument rated, was probably relying purely on the ground positioning system direction to maintain course, and he was unable to locate and land at several airports along his route of flight prior to fuel exhaustion.

Postmortem toxicology testing for the pilot indicated positive results for Paroxetine and Rosuvastatin. The pilot had not reported any medication on his medical application to the FAA. Although such medications can impair mental and/or physical ability, it was not possible to determine to what extent the pilot may have been impaired.

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

The pilot’s inadequate fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the inadvertent stall during the pilot’s emergency landing and the pilot’s decision to continue flight in deteriorating weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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