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N43246 accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location 38.202222°N, 90.386666°W
Nearest city Festus, MO
38.220610°N, 90.395954°W
1.4 miles away
Tail number N43246
Accident date 08 Oct 2007
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-151
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 8, 2007, about 0747 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-151, N43246, owned and piloted by a private pilot, was found with substantial damage in a field approximately 1.5 miles southeast of Festus Memorial Airport, Festus (FES), Missouri. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from Marion, Illinois, at an unknown time and was en route to FES.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot left home at 0530 and would have arrived at his destination between 0630 and 0645. Witnesses reported seeing broken tree branches near the accident site and did not observe the airplane impact the ground. A witness who drove past the accident site about 0640 said there was fog present.

The airplane was resting on a hill in a wooded area which contained several broken branches along the wreckage path of the airplane. The wooded area was adjacent to a clearing and pasture. Both wings of the airplane were separated from the airframe and possessed leading edge damage consistent with tree strikes.

Examination of the wreckage by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the left wing fuel tank was empty and the right wing fuel tank contained approximately one cup of water and one quart of aviation fuel. The right wing fuel line at the wing root contained approximately one teaspoon of water and one teaspoon of aviation fuel. The electric fuel pump and gascolator contained water. There was no liquid in the carburetor bowl. The propeller was attached to the engine. One propeller blade was not deformed and the other blade exhibited a rearward deformation of 20-30 degrees. There was no leading edge or chord wise damage consistent with engine power. The flap handle and the flap torque tube position was consistent with a zero degree flap setting.

A post accident engine run was performed under the supervision of the FAA. The engine operated with no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate aircraft preflight, fuel system water contamination and fuel starvation which resulted in a loss of engine power during landing approach. An additional cause was the emergency landing procedure not followed by the pilot following a loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident were the trees, and night light conditions.

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