NTSB Identification: LAX96LA117.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, February 16, 1996 in RAYMOND, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/16/1996
Aircraft: Cessna 172P, registration: N53115
Injuries: 4 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 reported that the aircraft was en route over low rolling foothills when the engine quit. The aircraft firewall and nose gear was damaged during the forced landing on a road. Examination of the aircraft by a A&P mechanic revealed that the fuel system was intact. Only residual fuel was found in the fuel tanks. Following recovery of the aircraft, the engine was started using the airframe systems; it accelerated to power smoothly with normal magneto drops observed. The pilot stated the aircraft is rented full of fuel by the FBO and during the preflight inspection put her fingers in the filler port and felt fuel at a level about 1 inch below the top of the filler neck. The pilot noted that the fuel gages in this aircraft historically read something less than full when the tanks are filled and the gage reading on start of between 3/4 and full seemed normal. Cessna Aircraft reported that the tanks must be filled to the top of the filler neck to obtain a 20 gallon usable fuel level. A fuel level at the bottom of the filler neck equals 18 usable gallons and each inch in fuel level below that is equal to about 2 gallons of fuel. The difference between the takeoff time and the accident is 3 hours 22 minutes according to FAA ATC communication tapes. The Safety Board calculated the expected fuel usage using both the aircraft performance charts in the Cessna POH, and specific fuel flow figures provided by Lycoming for an engine operated at full rich condition. With the stated allowances for engine start, taxi and takeoff, the Safety Board calculated that 28.4 gallons of fuel would be used when the engine was leaned and the aircraft flown according to the manual. In the full rich condition, 33.4 gallons of fuel would be required.

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

The pilot's failure to verify the quantity of fuel onboard the aircraft prior to departure, which resulted in fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

Index for Feb1996 | Index of months