December 16, 2011, Merry Hill, N.C., Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk


The airplane crashed during a forced landing following a loss of engine power at about 1330 Eastern time. The airplane received substantial damage and the non-certificated pilot/owner was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to witnesses, the airplane was maneuvering at tree-top level towards an open field when the engine stopped producing power. The airplane then descended at a steep angle before it collided with terrain, nosed over and came to rest inverted. Examination revealed control continuity to all flight control surfaces and no evidence of a pre-impact mechanical anomaly. The left fuel tank was selected, but no fuel was found in it. The right fuel tank also was empty, but there was some fuel blighting of the vegetation beneath the right fuel cap. The pilot/owner held no pilot certificate.


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