NYC08LA172
NYC08LA172

On April 30, 2008, about 1130 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-160, N5426W, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Richmond Hill, Georgia. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were seriously injured, and the other passenger incurred minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight from Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM), Kissimmee, Florida, to Fayetteville Regional Airport (FAY), Fayetteville, North Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, he first flew to Kissimmee on April 26, 2008, and upon arrival, requested that the airplane's fuel tanks be "topped off." The following morning, the pilot flew to Orlando Apopka Airport (X04), Apopka, Florida, to visit his son. The pilot then flew from Apopka to Immokalee Airport (IMM), Immokalee Florida, where the fuel tanks were again topped off. After departing Immokalee, the pilot flew locally for about 1.5 hours, and then flew another 1.5 hours back to Kissimmee. Upon arrival, he requested that the airplane be "fully fueled" before his departure on April 30th.

On the morning of his departure, the pilot first went to the fixed base operator and paid for 4 nights of parking and 43 gallons of fuel. The pilot did not remove the fuel caps to check the quantity, "as I was holding in my hands a receipt for 43 gallons purchased."

After takeoff, the pilot noted that the fuel gauges indicated half full for each tank, "which is normal for this airplane which usually takes a while for pressure to build up and gauges to indicate properly. This reading did not appear out of the ordinary from past experiences in fully fueling the plane."

About 2 hours into the flight, the pilot noted that the fuel gauges still indicated approximately half full. Some time later, the engine sputtered, then lost all power. The pilot switched to the other fuel tank, which was then indicating about one fourth full, and he was able to restart the engine. The pilot then contacted Savannah Approach Control, declared an emergency, and turned toward an airport about 22 miles away.

About 5 minutes after declaring the emergency, the engine quit, and the pilot could not restart it. The pilot then attempted a forced landing to a road, and remembered descending past trees, but did not recall anything else until waking up with emergency personnel assisting him.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the airplane hit trees and a transmission line, and came to rest, nose down, in a yard. There were no indications of engine power, and there were only trace amounts of fuel in the tanks with no significant fuel spillage at the scene. There were also no mechanical anomalies noted with the airplane.

A review of fuel receipts and a Kissimmee Jet Center Fuel Ticket revealed that on April 26, 2008, the airplane was topped off with 42.3 gallons of fuel. On April 27, 2008, at Immokalee Airport, the airplane was fueled with 21.5 gallons of fuel. On April 30, 2008, at Kissimmee, the pilot paid for the 42.3 gallons of fuel that were previously pumped on April 26th.

The pilot obtained his private pilot certificate on April 23, 2008.

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