NTSB Identification: NYC96LA029.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 26, 1995 in SHEFFIELD, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/1996
Aircraft: BELLANCA 8-KCAB, registration: N53835
Injuries: 2 Serious.
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/owner and her husband, also a pilot, departed on a cross-country flight. The pilot did not check the airplane's fuel tanks, but estimated that the tanks were half full. After takeoff, at 6,500 feet, the pilot observed the fuel gauge to read empty and decided to make a precautionary landing before the engine lost power. Before the landing could be made, the engine lost power. The pilot attempted a forced landing to an open field, but the airplane collided with trees. Examination of the airplane revealed no preimpact failures of the airframe or engine, and no fuel was detected in any of the airplane's fuel tanks, or on the ground. Four days before the accident, the pilots were at another airport, and had made a request for the fixed base operator to change the oil and refuel the airplane. The airplane was not refueled, and the invoice for the services did not include fuel. The airplane was then flown on four separate flights, without either of the pilots checking the airplane's fuel quantity. The airplane was flown a total of 4.1 hours, the estimated fuel duration was 3.6 hours.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inadequate preflight and improper inflight planning/decision, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the loss of engine power, due to an inadequate supply of fuel. Full narrative available
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