MIA98LA186
MIA98LA186

On June 17, 1998, about 1920 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N8284W, registered to a private individual, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed in a farm field while descending for an approach to Holly Springs/Marshall County Airport, Mississippi. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage, and the commercial-rated pilot and a passenger sustained minor injuries. The departure time from Tulsa's Riverside Airport was about 1540.

The accident pilot stated that another pilot, himself, and an A&P mechanic had departed Pryor Field Regional Airport, Decatur, Alabama, earlier that day aboard N8284W, a rental airplane, to perform a prepurchase inspection on an airplane in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The airplane was inspected and bought "on the spot", and a decision was made to fly both aircraft back to Alabama. The plan called for the original renter/pilot of N8284W on the out-bound trip to fly the newly purchased airplane home, and the accident pilot and mechanic would follow in N8284W. The two airplanes left Riverside Airport together, the new purchase on an IFR flight plan, and the rental following in a loose trail position. Their plan was to stay in radio contact, but not necessarily in visual contact, as the newly purchased airplane was a higher performance airplane. The pilot of N8284W elected to land at Holly Springs/Marshall County Airport to refuel, but experienced a loss of power in descent, and landed in a corn field about 7 miles short of the airport, sustaining substantial damage.

The accident pilot, who was acting as right seat copilot for the outbound trip, stated he realized the left fuel quantity gauge was not reliable because the needle did not move during that outbound trip. For the homebound trip, he was using the right fuel gauge and timing, assuming about 10 gallons per hour consumption rate for his en route fuel management.

Subsequent examination of the wreckage site by FAA personnel revealed no evidence of fuel spill. There was no fuel in the gascolator or fuel lines to the carburetor. The right wing tank contained no fuel and the left tank held about 3/8 to 1/2 inch of fuel. Fuel tank caps were in place, secure, and showed no signs of leakage. The left tank fuel quantity gauge indicated 25 gallons and the right gauge indicated empty. The type certification data sheet states unusable fuel for this airplane is about 2 gallons.

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