NTSB Identification: LAX96LA068.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 08, 1995 in MODESTO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/04/1996
Aircraft: Cessna T210N, registration: N214BD
Injuries: 1 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 departed Modesto with 90 gallons of fuel. He first flew to Fresno to pickup some passengers, and then to Phoenix. In Phoenix, he requested the right tank be filled and that half that amount be added to the left tank. The fuel receipt showed that a total of 45 gallons were added. The pilot said he did not visually check the fuel levels. While passing Bakersfield, he noticed his fuel gauges indicated a higher than expected rate of fuel consumption and reduced the power setting. Nearing his destination, the pilot began switching tanks until both ran dry. The engine quit about 4 to 5 miles from the runway, resulting in a forced landing in an almond orchard. The pilot said that by his calculations, he had sufficient fuel onboard to complete the flight. The engine tachometer showed 6.9 total hours for the entire flight. Performance charts revealed a similar flight would require at least 130 gallons of usable fuel without reserves. Fuel records showed a total of 132 gallons of usable fuel had been available. An AD to prevent loss of engine power caused by inadvertent fuel loss or inadequate fuel servicing was accomplished on 1/19/95. In accordance with the AD, the operator had recalibrated the fuel gauges, placed placards on the fuel filler ports, and revised the pilot operating procedures in the POH.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and preparation, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, due to an inadequate supply of fuel, followed by a forced landing in an area of trees. Darkness was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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