Sunday, August 26, 2018

Piper PA-25-260, N8578L: Accident occurred June 11, 2017 in Hood River County, Oregon

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hood River, OR
Accident Number: GAA17CA331
Date & Time: 06/11/2017, 1630 PDT
Registration: N8578L
Aircraft: PIPER PA25
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Glider Tow

The glider tow pilot reported that, during preflight the fuel indicator read "2/3 full" and he had a "brief discussion" with the previous pilot who had just completed numerous glider tow flights, without refueling. He added that a fuel "dipstick" was not available, and a visual check of the fuel quantity was not complete during preflight. He further added that on the 10th glider tow flight, which was about 2 hours of flight time, he noted a "low fuel indication in flight just prior to glider release." Subsequently, the glider released and during the return to the airport, about 2 nautical miles from the runway, about 1,900 above ground, the engine lost power.

The pilot reported that due to the quartering headwind aloft he did not believe he could make the runway, so he attempted to land on an open pasture, but struck trees and impacted terrain about "50 yards short of [the] pasture."

The fuselage, elevator, and both wings sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/15/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/30/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 317.6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7.7 hours (Total, this make and model), 255.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 18.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N8578L
Model/Series: PA25 260
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1969
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 25-5004
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/09/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2900 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 13229.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-540-G1A5
Registered Owner: HOOD RIVER SOARING
Rated Power: 260 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K4S2, 638 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2335 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 140°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 11000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR): 
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots / 15 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hood River, OR (4S2)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hood River, OR (4S2)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 638 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  45.665000, -121.521111 (est)

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