NTSB: Plane that crashed in Washington Twp. ran out of gas

The Oct. 4 plane crash in the area of Spring Valley Pike and Yankee Street in Washington Twp. was a result of a gas tank running out of fuel, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report.

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The plane, a Piper PA-28, was heading to Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport when it crashed after experiencing engine issues. The plane hit a BMW at the intersection during the crash. The pilot was attempting to land in a nearby cornfield, but the plane was too low to make it over high tension wires.

Alexandra Robau of Beavercreek was the private pilot initially in command and Corinne Barnes, of Miamisburg, was the commercially licensed pilot who took over controls, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The FAA report released stated that, “According to the instrument rated private pilot, she (Robau) was working toward a commercial certificate, conducting an instrument cross-country flight in VFR conditions with a safety pilot (Barnes).”

FAA investigators concluded that during the final approach the airplane’s altitude was low and Robau added power by moving the throttle but “nothing happened.”

Barnes, who was in the right seat, took the controls and made a forced landing on a highway. During the landing, the airplane struck a vehicle.

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“The private pilot and the safety pilot reported that they were not sure why the engine lost power. The private pilot reported that the accident flight was the second and return leg of the IFR cross-country flight,” the FAA report states.

Additionally, Robau reported that the airplane had been “topped off” prior to the flight, which was about 181 nautical miles to their destination.

During preflight for the return leg, Robau affirmed that she visually checked the fuel quantity in each tank and, “it was at the tabs.” She completed a fuel sample and they departed for the return flight.

According to the FAA inspector that performed the post-accident airplane examination, during the examination, he observed that the fuel tank selector was set to the left tank.

“The fuel pump and carburetor float bowl had less than an ounce of fuel in each,” the investigator said in the report. “The left wing tank did not contain any usable fuel and there was no sign of fuel on the ground post impact. The right tank contained about 12 gallons of fuel.”

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At the time of the incident, both pilots were involved with Sinclair Community College’s pilot program.

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