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N4159M accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.094444°N, 106.167223°W
Nearest city Edgewood, NM
35.061436°N, 106.191414°W
2.7 miles away
Tail number N4159M
Accident date 22 Dec 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-12
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 22, 2003 at 1710 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-12, N4159M was substantially damaged when it impacted a fence during a forced landing 7 miles west of Sandia Airpark (1N1), Edgewood, New Mexico. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan had been filed for the personal flight being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Los Alamos Airport (LAM), Los Alamos, New Mexico, at 1630.

According to the accident report submitted by the pilot, he departed 1N1 for LAM (30 minutes of flight time) the morning of the accident with an estimated 16 gallons of fuel on board. Due to headwinds, the flight duration was closer to .7 hours. For the afternoon return flight to 1N1, the pilot diverted to the west of Santa Fe, New Mexico, due to overcast conditions.

Approximately 7 miles west of 1N1, the engine lost power. The pilot reported that the ground was covered with approximately 1 1/2 inches of snow. During the forced landing, the pilot was unable to stop the airplane prior to impacting a fence. The left wing tip was crushed, the left landing gear collapsed in and back towards the fuselage, the top portion of the fuselage between the wings was crushed and the propeller was bent.

According to the FAA inspector at the scene, the fuel tanks were empty and no fuel was present in the carburetor. An examination of the airplane systems revealed no anomalies. The pilot reported that due to the angle of the airplane while sitting on the ramp and the position of the fuel gauge floats, it was not possible to verify the amount of fuel in the tanks.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's inadequate in-flight planning and decision making. Factors contributing to the accident include the resulting fuel exhaustion, the snow covered field and the fence.

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