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N919CA accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 42.468889°N, 122.719167°W
Nearest city Eagle Point, OR
42.472626°N, 122.802818°W
4.3 miles away
Tail number N919CA
Accident date 03 Aug 2007
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-180
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On August 3, 2007, at 1417 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N919CA, collided with terrain during a forced landing near Eagle Point, Oregon. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The cross-country personal flight departed Felts Field, Spokane, Washington, about 1140, with a planned destination of Rogue Valley Airport, Medford, Oregon. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed; no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated in a written report that during the preflight inspection he confirmed the fuel tanks were full by visually observing the fuel level at the filler necks. He attempted to start the engine, but was unable due to the battery containing insufficient charge. He exited the airplane, and proceeded to charge the battery. Once the battery had been charged, he successfully started the engine. The pilot then shutdown the engine and exited the airplane to use the restroom. Upon returning, he rechecked the fuel tank levels and noted that fuel was dripping from the vent overflow lines. He surmised that this was due to fuel expansion caused by the increasing air temperature on the ramp.

The pilot then departed Felts Field on a southbound heading and climbed to 8,500 feet. He set the engine rpm to 2,480, and adjusted the fuel/air mixture using the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauge as a reference. Over Pendleton, Oregon, he readjusted the mixture using the same procedure. After flying an additional 30 minutes, the pilot initiated a climb to 10,500 feet. Once established in a cruise configuration he again adjusted the mixture. He reported that every 30 minutes throughout the flight, he switched the fuel selector valve alternately between the left and right tanks, in order to attain an even fuel burn.

The pilot stated that approximately 3 hours 40 minutes later, with the fuel tank selector set to the left tank, the engine lost all power. He switched the selector to the right tank and power was restored. He observed that both the left and right fuel gauges read 1/4 full. Concerned that the right tank may also have been low on fuel, he elected to divert to an airport in the immediate vicinity. Ten minutes later the engine again lost all power. The pilot configured the airplane for best glide speed, and after informing the control tower at Rogue Valley Airport of his situation, began searching for an alternate landing location.

The pilot forced landed the airplane in an open field; the airplane received substantial damage to the wing spars, empennage and firewall. A local law enforcement officer inspected the fuel tanks on scene, and observed that they contained no fuel.

The straight-line distance between Felts Field and Rogue Valley is 396 nautical miles.

The pilot stated that the airframe and engine had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.

NTSB Probable Cause

Fuel exhaustion due to the pilot's inadequate fuel consumption calculations.

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