NTSB Identification: ATL99FA045
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 27, 1999 in BREVARD, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/21/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N1875H
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported a low fuel condition to the air traffic controller. The air traffic controller gave the pilot alternate airports available for landing in the immediate vicinity of the accident site. The pilot circled the area for approximately 2.5 hours. After failing to identify any of the airports, the pilot flew towards Brevard, NC. While in a descent towards the vicinity of Brevard, the airplane struck several trees and a power line before impacting the ground. The airframe and engine examinations failed to disclose any evidence of a mechanical malfunction or component failure. The post-impact examination of the engine and airframe fuel system components failed to show evidence of fuel. A small quantity of fuel was observed in the carburetor. There were no obvious indications of fuel spillage at the accident site; nor did the emergency response personnel report the odor of fuel upon their arrival at the accident site.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's inadequate inflight planning that resulted in fuel exhaustion and the subsequent loss of engine power.