NTSB Identification: ATL96LA067.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 17, 1996 in KINGSTON, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: Mooney M20C, registration: N78896
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 reported that he had just departed Meadow Lake, and was in cruise flight at about 2,000 feet above ground level when the aircraft engine lost power. He attempted to execute a forced landing in a field. The aircraft struck a utility building during the forced landing. The initial postcrash inspection revealed that the airplane was intact and fuel tanks did not appear to be compromised. The fuel tanks were examined, the right fuel tank contained no fuel, and the left fuel tank contained a small amount of residual fuel. The fuel gauges were inspected, and the right fuel quantity indicator showed full, although there was no fuel in the airplane. The pilot stated he did not perform a complete walk around of the airplane before the flight, or visibly check the fuel quantity. He used only the fuel gauges as a reference for fuel quantity, and thought he had 26 gallons on board before takeoff.

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

The pilot's inadequate pre-flight inspection, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. A factor relating to the accident was: the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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