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N115JT accident description

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Crash location 35.885833°N, 92.366945°W
Nearest city Alco, AR
35.887575°N, 92.367102°W
0.1 miles away
Tail number N115JT
Accident date 27 Jul 2005
Aircraft type Amateur Built Varieze
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 7, 2005, approximately 1546 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built VariEze single-engine airplane, N115JT, was substantially damaged when it collided with a mail box during a precautionary landing on a highway. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from the Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), near Oshkosh, Wisconsin, approximately 1200, and was destined for the Clinton Municipal Airport (4M4), near Clinton, Arkansas.

The 3,308-hour pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that prior to departure from OSH with 25 gallons plus 3 gallons of reserve fuel on board, he received a weather briefing and monitored weather reports at various stations during the flight to 4M4. The pilot added that about 100 nautical miles (nm) from 4M4, he descended to 3,500 feet, and that about 20 nm from 4M4 the cloud base was lowering and the tops of the hills were obscured in all quadrants. He further stated that at that point, he had been flying for about three and one-half hours. He added that "fuel status was now critical, and I decided to land on the highway." During the landing roll on the highway, the airplane's right wing struck a mailbox, and the pilot reported that "the next thing I knew, I was upside down in a ditch."

Examination of the airplane by an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that the airplane sustained structural damage to the fuselage, engine firewall, and wings.

At 1555, the automated weather observation at the Marion County Regional Airport (FLP), near Flippin, Arkansas, located about 26 nautical miles north of the accident site, reported wind from 020 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 statue miles, scattered clouds at 3,100 feet, broken clouds at 3,500 feet, temperature 22 degrees Celsius, dew point 17 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inches of Mercury.

The pilot reported the visibility at 5 miles plus, overcast 1,700 feet and obscured, with visibility restricted due to haze.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's pilots failure to refuel the airplane. Contributing factors were the low ceilings and the lack of suitable terrain for the precautionary landing.

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