NTSB Identification: CHI96LA030.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 12, 1995 in NILES, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/1996
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N738LM
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT HAD FILED AN IFR FLIGHT PLAN FROM BUFFALO, NEW YORK, TO SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, AND SPENT 20 MINUTES GROUND RUNNING TIME WAITING FOR AN IFR CLEARANCE. DURING THE FLIGHT THE LEFT FUEL TANK GAUGE WAS ERRATIC, SO THE PILOT IGNORED IT. THE IN-FLIGHT TIME WAS 4 HOURS AND 25 MINUTES BEFORE A TOTAL LOSS OF POWER OCCURRED. THE PILOT STATED THE FUEL CONSUMPTION FOR THE AIRPLANE WAS BETWEEN 8.5 TO 8.9 GPH. AT 8.5 GPH, THE FUEL BURNED DURING THE 4 HOUR AND 25 MINUTE FLIGHT WOULD HAVE BEEN 37.5 GALLONS, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL 2 GALLONS USED FOR THE 20 MINUTE GROUND TIME, FOR A TOTAL OF 39.5 GALLONS USED. AT 8.9 GPH, THE TOTAL WOULD HAVE BEEN 41.3 GALLONS. THE PILOT'S OPERATING HANDBOOK SHOWS THE USABLE FUEL OF 40 GALLONS, WITH 3 GALLONS UNUSABLE. THE POSTCRASH INVESTIGATION REVEALED 1-1/2 GALLONS OF FUEL IN THE RIGHT TANK; NO FUEL IN THE LEFT TANK.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's improper fuel consumption calculations. Factors related to the accident were: the pilot's lack of familiarity with the aircraft and operating with a known malfunctioning fuel gauge.

Full narrative available

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