The pilot reported that, while on a cross-country flight, he diverted from his destination to a nearby airport due to low fuel.
He added that the right fuel tank “went dry” and that the engine lost power on downwind, so he switched to the left fuel tank, and the engine momentarily restarted before it experienced a total loss of power on base.
Subsequently, the Piper PA-28 hit the instrument landing system lights at the airport in Thomson, Georgia, which resulted in substantial damage to both wings.
The pilot reported that he miscalculated the fuel and “ran out of gas.” A post-accident examination found about one cup of fuel in one of the tanks.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper preflight planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the total loss of engine power.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA089
This December 2016 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.