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N7534W accident description

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Tail numberN7534W
Accident dateAugust 13, 2005
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-180
LocationErie, PA
Near 42.081945 N, -80.176111 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 13, 2005, at 2114 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N7534W, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, following a total loss of engine power while on approach to Erie International Airport (ERI), Erie, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, while one passenger was seriously injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Jamestown Airport (JHW), Jamestown, New York. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was based at a private airstrip in Smyrna, Delaware. During the evening prior to the accident flight, the pilot obtained a weather briefing for the following day from a flight service station. He also fueled the airplane at Delaware Airpark (33N), Cheswold, Delaware.

On the day of the accident, the pilot and his wife flew from Smyrna, Delaware, to Delaware Airpark, and boarded two additional passengers. They then flew to Randolph Airport (D85), Randolph, New York. The pilot and his wife dropped off the two passengers, and continued to Niagara Falls International Airport (IAG), Niagara, New York. The pilot refused a fuel purchase in Niagara, and commented to a fixed based operator employee about the high price of fuel. He and his wife then flew back to Randolph, New York, and picked up the two passengers, with the intention of refueling, and ultimately returning to Delaware. Fuel services were not available in Randolph, and the pilot then flew to Jamestown Airport (JHW), Jamestown, New York, to purchase fuel. When the airplane arrived at Jamestown, the fixed based operator was closed for the evening. The pilot did not utilize the after hours telephone number for fuel services at Jamestown, and elected to depart for Erie International Airport (ERI), Erie, Pennsylvania, to refuel.

About 12 miles east of Erie, the pilot reported fuel exhaustion to air traffic control. He attempted to glide the airplane to runway 24, but it impacted trees and a field about 1 mile east of the runway.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the left wing fuel tank was compromised. The right wing fuel tank remained intact, and contained about 16 ounces of fuel, with some water observed in the fuel sample. Due to impact damage, the pre-impact position of the fuel selector could not be determined.

Review of an owner's handbook, for the make and model accident airplane, revealed that the airplane was equipped with a 25-gallon fuel tank in each wing, resulting in a total fuel capacity of 50 gallons. The airplane was also equipped with a Lycoming O-360 A4A, 180-horsepower engine. According to the owner's handbook, the engine consumed 10 gallons of fuel per hour at a 75-percent power setting, resulting in a 5-hour endurance.

The pilot recorded fuelings in a fuel log, which included tachometer and Hobbs meter time. Readings were obtained from the Hobbs meter and tachometer at the accident site, and compared to the last entry in the fuel log. The comparison revealed that the airplane had flown approximately 5.07 hours tachometer time, or 5.7 hours Hobbs time, since the last refueling.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on December 28, 2004.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 228 hours; of which, about 196 hours were in the accident airplane. In addition, the pilot had flown about 38 hours during the 90 days preceding the accident, all of which were in the accident airplane. The pilot had accumulated approximately 12 hours of night flying experience; however, he had no night flying experience within the 90 days preceding the accident.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Erie County Coroner's Office, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.