CHI05CA006
CHI05CA006

On October 17, 2004, about 1905 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-160, N5520W, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage on impact with a power line and terrain during a forced landing near Altoona, Wisconsin, following an in-flight loss of engine power. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot and passenger reported no injuries. The flight originated at 1755 from the Tri-County Regional Airport (LNR), near Lone Rock, Wisconsin, and was on its descent to the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU), near Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at the time of the loss of engine power.

The pilot's accident report stated:
Departed KLNR at 5:55 for Eau Claire airport to drop [the passenger]
off and was still flying off the left tank. Flying between KLNR and
KEAU was pretty smooth, but a little turbulence hear and there. 10
miles out from KEAU I began my desent to traffic pattern altitude
from my cruise flight at 4,500 [feet above Mean Sea Level]. While
doing my descent I listened to KEAU's weather frequency and found it
was fine to land there. There was also some light rain. Announced my
intentions to land on runway 22. At around 5 miles out and 300 feet
above traffic pattern the RPM's went down to less that 1000 RPMs in
about 2 seconds. I pushed the throttle in and out and the engine did not
respond at all. Then I turned my carb heat on. Checked to see mixture
was rich and it was. ... I switched fuel selector to the right tank and
the engine didn't respond and shortly after the engine stopped ... .

The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions with the airplane in reference to the flight and his safety recommendation was "maybe fuel exhaustion."

During an on-scene examination of the wreckage, a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector found 12.5 gallons of fuel in the right tank and approximately a pint of fuel in the left tank.

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