Fuel exhaustion Accident Cessna 172N Skyhawk N737EZ,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 183492
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Date:Tuesday 12 January 2016
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 172N Skyhawk
Registration: N737EZ
MSN: 17269373
Total airframe hrs:2165 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:South of Gilmer in Upshur County, TX -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Sulphur Springs, TX (SLR)
Destination airport:Gilmer, TX (JXI)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The private pilot and one passenger departed on the approximate 35-minute personal flight with an unknown quantity of fuel onboard. Later that evening, they departed to return to their home airport in night visual meteorological conditions without adding additional fuel during their stop. While on final approach to their home airport, the engine lost total power and the airplane impacted trees and terrain. The passenger stated that the engine did not sound any different during the accident flight than on any of the previous flights and that there was no indication of a problem with the airplane when the engine lost power. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no usable fuel within the airplane's fuel system, and no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation; therefore, it is likely that the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power as a result of fuel exhaustion. While it is unknown what preflight fuel planning the pilot performed and the extent of his preflight inspection, it is apparent that both were inadequate; had he performed both properly, he likely would not have run out of fuel.

Recorded GPS data showed that the pilot flew the traffic pattern 400-600 ft lower than the recommended 1,000-ft above airport elevation and turned to the base leg of the traffic pattern farther from the runway than recommended. Had the pilot flown the traffic pattern at the recommended altitude and distance from the runway, it may have been possible for the airplane to glide to the runway following the loss of engine power.
Probable Cause: The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and inspection, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain an appropriate traffic pattern altitude and distance from the runway, which may have allowed the airplane to glide to the runway following the loss of engine power.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CEN16FA083
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


FAA register: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=737EZ


Revision history:

13-Jan-2016 13:03 gerard57 Added
13-Jan-2016 16:39 Geno Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
13-Jan-2016 17:00 Geno Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Aug-2017 16:43 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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