ATL95LA024
ATL95LA024

On December 7, 1994, about 2041 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-161, N8075S, collided with approach lights and the ground during a forced landing at North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. A flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. There were no injuries to the private pilot nor his passenger, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Origination of the flight was Linden, New Jersey, at 1630 EST on the same day. The destination was North Myrtle Beach.

According to the pilot, the left fuel gauge was reading empty 20 to 30 miles away from the airport. The pilot believed that the gauge was inaccurate. The pilot used the right fuel tank until it indicated empty. He then switched to the left tank approximately five miles from the airport. When the airplane was on a four mile final, the engine quit. The pilot switched back to the right fuel tank and restarted the engine. The pilot stated that he noticed the fuel tank cover was missing from the left wing. The airplane continued until on a two mile final when the engine quit. The pilot attempted to glide the airplane onto the runway. The airplane struck approach lights, which separated the left wing, and impacted the ground.

The Myrtle Beach Airport traffic controller reported that the pilot called him when he was 20 miles northeast of the airport. He cleared the pilot to land on runway 23. The pilot did not mention he was having any problems with the airplane.

The investigation into this accident revealed that the there was no fuel in the aircraft and the left fuel cap was missing. The right fuel cap was removed from the right wing and placed on the left fuel tank opening and it functioned normally.

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