Aircraft Incident/Accident Report
Petaluma Municipal Airport

Petaluma, California 94954
Saturday, September 17, 2005 14:20 PDT

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NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
The airplane collided with a fence during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot reported that he flew on the left fuel tank for start-up, taxi, and takeoff. After reaching his cruise altitude of 8,500 feet, he switched to the right fuel tank approximately 45 minutes into the flight. When the right fuel gauge was indicating "zero," the pilot switched back to the left fuel tank while making stair step descents to his final destination. About 4 miles north of the accident location and 18 miles south of his destination, the engine began sputtering and he switched the fuel selector to the right tank and turned on the electric fuel pump. The engine started to run normally, but the fuel indicator on the left tank was reading over 5 gallons and the right tank was indicating zero gallons. He immediately reversed course toward an airport he had just overflown and planned to land on runway 11. Due to a departing airplane on runway 29, the pilot maneuvered to land on runway 29 and entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. As he entered downwind, the engine began sputtering again and then lost power. The pilot attempted to land on runway 29 and made s-turns to dissipate the excessive altitude in order to make the runway. Prior to touching down, the pilot extended two notches of flaps. Upon touchdown, he applied the brakes but the airplane overran the runway, went through a fence, and came to rest on a golf course. The airport manager immediately responded to the accident site and found that there was no fuel in the fuel tanks or on the ground. About 1 ounce of clean fuel was found in the gascolator. Using the fuel flow for 75 percent best power from the performance charts in the aircraft flight manual for the trip elapsed time, including the allowances for takeoff and climb fuel burn, yields a total fuel consumption of 49.25 gallons. The airplane's usable fuel is 48 gallons.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date9/17/2005 
Event Day of the WeekSaturday 
Time of Event1420 
Event Time ZonePacific Daylight Time 
Event CityPetaluma 
Event StateCALIFORNIA 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site94954 
Event Date Year2005 
Event Date Month
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude381528N 
Event Location Longitude1223619W 
Event Location AirportPetaluma Municipal 
Event Location Nearest Airport IDO96 
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportOn Airport 
Distance from airport in statute miles0.25 
Degrees magnetic from airport-- 
Airport Elevation-- 
Weather Briefing Completeness-- 
Investigator's weather sourcePilot 
Time of the weather observation 
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)-- 
Weather Observation Facility ID-- 
Elevation of weather observation facility-- 
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)-- 
Time Zone of the weather observation-- 
Lighting ConditionsDay 
Lowest Ceiling Height-- 
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height-- 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud ConditionsClear 
Sky Condition for Lowest CeilingNone 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)-- 
Visibility (Statute Miles) 10 
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)25 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)-- 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)-- 
Variable Wind Indicator-- 
Wind Speed (knots)-- 
Wind Velocity Indicator Calm 
Wind Gust IndicatorNot Gusting 
Wind Gust (knots) -- 
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) -- 
Density Altitude (feet)-- 
Intensity of Precipitation-- 
METAR weather report -- 
Event Highest InjuryNone 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries-- 
On Ground, Minor Injuries-- 
On Ground, Serious Injuries-- 
Injury Total Fatal-- 
Injury Total Minor-- 
Injury Total None
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All-- 
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)19024 
NTSB Notification SourceFAA  
NTSB Notification Date-- 
NTSB Notification Time-- 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket informationDMS 
Date of most recent change to recordJan 31 2006 7:35AM 
User who most recently changed recordNTSB\JOHB  
Basic weather conditionsVisual Meteorological Cond 
FAA District Office-- 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN8103X 
NTSB NumberLAX05CA301 
Missing Aircraft Indicator-- 
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 91: General Aviation 
Type of Flight Plan filedNone 
Flight plan Was Activated?-- 
DamageSubstantial 
Aircraft FireNone 
Aircraft Explosion-- 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NamePiper 
Aircraft ModelPA 28-181 
Aircraft Series Identifier-- 
Aircraft Serial Number28-8090119 
Certified Max Gross Weight-- 
Aircraft CategoryAirplane 
Aircraft Registration Class-- 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft-- 
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearFixed 
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection-- 
Date of Last Inspection-- 
Airframe hours since last inspection-- 
Airframe Hours-- 
ELT Installed-- 
ELT Activated-- 
ELT Aided Location of Event Site-- 
ELT Type-- 
Aircraft Owner NameAir Desert Pacific 
Aircraft Owner Street Address-- 
Aircraft Owner City-- 
Aircraft Owner State-- 
Aircraft Owner Country-- 
Aircraft Owner Zipcode-- 
Operator is an individual?No 
Operator NameAir Desert Pacific 
Operator Same as Owner?No 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?No 
Operator Street Address-- 
Operator CityLa Verne 
Operator StateCA 
Operator CountryUSA  
Operator Zip code-- 
Operator Code-- 
Owner has at least one certificateNone 
Other Operator of large aircraft?-- 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation-- 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not-- 
Indicates Domestic or International Flight-- 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail-- 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)Personal 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventNo 
Departure Airport CodePOC  
Departure CityLa Verne 
Departure StateCA 
Departure CountryUSA 
Departure Time-- 
Departure Time Zone-- 
Destination Same as Local Flt-- 
Destination Airport CodeSTS  
Destination CitySanta Rosa 
Destination StateCA 
Destination CountryUSA 
Specific Phase of Flight-- 
Report sent to ICAO?-- 
Evacuation occurred-- 
Date of most recent change to recordOct 13 2005 5:25PM 
User who most recently changed recordCOOS  
Since inspection or accident-- 
Event Location Runway Number and Location29 
Runway Length3600 
Runway Width75 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightNo 
Medical Flight--