NTSB Identification: ERA14LA227
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 07, 2014 in Covington, TN
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N4506W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 7, 2014, at 1107 central daylight time (CDT), a Piper PA-28-181, N4506W, operated by the Dayton Pilots Club, Inc, was destroyed when it collided with wooded terrain during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power on approach to Covington Municipal Airport (M04), Covington, Tennessee. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport (MGY), Dayton, Ohio, about 0710 CDT. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Preliminary air traffic control information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane was at an altitude of 6,000 feet and 8 miles northeast of M04 when the pilot reported the destination airport in sight, and cancelled his IFR clearance. The controller then issued the airplane a frequency change to the M04 common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). There were no further communications from the accident airplane.

In a telephone interview, the airport manager stated he was monitoring the CTAF when the accident pilot announced he was 7.5 miles from the airport, and in-bound for landing. The manager recognized the pilot's voice, as they had spoken by telephone the previous day, and was aware of the pilot's plans upon arrival. He advised the pilot that parking, fueling of his airplane, and ground transportation had been arranged.

Approximately 2 minutes later, the pilot announced over the radio that he was "out of fuel, and putting [the airplane] down short of the airport." The manager stated there were no further radios transmissions from the accident airplane.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second class medical certificate was issued March 26, 2014. According to club records, the pilot had accrued approximately 242 hours of flight experience, of which 178 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979. Its most recent annual inspection was completed December 9, 2013, at 7,945 aircraft hours.

At 1050, the weather conditions reported at Millington Regional Jetport (NQA), 20 miles southwest of M04, included few clouds at 2,500 feet,10 miles of visibility, and winds from 180 degrees at 9 knots. The temperature was 35 degrees C, the dew point was 17 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.98 inches of mercury. An NTSB meteorologist observed that the winds aloft at the airplane's cruising altitude of 6,000 were from about 225 degrees at 20 to 25 knots. Throughout the flight, the airplane maintained an approximate ground track of 225 degrees.

Examination of photographs revealed the airplane came to rest in standing water among wooded terrain. The cockpit and cabin areas were destroyed by impact, and had also been cut by first responders. The empennage appeared separated from the fuselage, but still attached by cables. The left wing appeared to have separated before the airplane came to rest.

According to detectives of the Tipton County Sheriff's Office, there was no odor of fuel, no evidence of fuel in the airplane, and no evidence of fuel spillage at the scene. The Chief of Detectives stated she did not order any environmental remediation of the crash site due to fuel spillage because "there was nothing to remediate."

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