The pilot reported that during the flight, he forgot to lean the mixture, and the Piper PA24 burned closer to 20 gallons per hour, rather than the 15 gallons per hour he had flight planned.
He decided to land and refuel at the next airport, but the engine lost power. He tried to restart the engine, but was unable and landed with the landing gear retracted in a marsh near Brunswick, Georgia.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.
The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to properly lean the fuel mixture in flight, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, a subsequent total loss of engine power, and a forced landing with the landing gear retracted.
This June 2019 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.