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NTSB Final Report: Piper PA-28-180

The Pilot Noticed That Both Fuel Tank Gauges Were Showing Empty...

Location: Ritchfield, Utah Accident Number: WPR23LA308
Date & Time: August 8, 2023, 11:55 Local Registration: N8823J
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180 Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Ferry

Analysis: The pilot reported that, after flying for about four hours, the engine began to surge. Concerned about the fuel condition, he switched to the other fuel tank and turned toward a highway for a potential emergency landing. While descending, the engine experienced surges again and then sputtered, followed by a complete loss of engine power. The pilot noticed that both fuel tank gauges were showing empty. While maneuvering over the highway for a forced landing, the airplane’s right wingtip collided with a semi-truck, causing the airplane to strike the highway and veer off into a median. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be -- The pilot’s improper preflight planning that resulted in the loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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