NTSB Identification: FTW96FA143.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 09, 1996 in MULESHOE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 150, registration: N66362
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot (an Egyptian national) departed on his initial solo crosscountry flight at 1500. He became lost on the first leg, and after receiving navigation assistance from ATC, made a full stop landing at his planned interim airport about 2 hours and 16 minutes after departure. A ramp attendant said the student seemed 'very nervous.' The ramp attendant asked the student if he wanted to refuel, but the student refused. The student departed the interim airport at 1750. About 50 minutes later, he became lost again. Pilots of other aircraft and ATC attempted to help the student via radio, but where not successful. When asked if his VOR was functioning, the student replied, 'its out of order, [and it] says OFF and I can't get a TO or FROM.' After nightfall, the airplane hit a power line and crashed on the shoulder of a highway about 60 miles north of the intended destination. No fuel spillage was detected at the site, and only about 1 gallon of fuel was found remaining in the fuel tanks. The total flight time without refueling was about 4 hours and 21 minutes; the last 30 minutes was at night. According to performance charts, fuel consumption would have been about 5.6 gallons per hour. Fuel capacity was 26 gallons of which 22.5 gallons were usable. The pilot had a total of 27.6 hrs of day VFR flight time, no night time, and 1.6 hrs of solo time. No preimpact mechanical defect was found. No record was found that the pilot's flight instructor or flight school had contacted FAA authorities to inquire about the overdue aircraft.

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

improper planning/decision by the student pilot, and his failure to take adequate remedial action after becoming lost and encountering a low fuel situation, which subsequently resulted in fuel exhaustion, loss of engine power, and a forced landing at night. Factors relating to the accident were: the student pilot became lost/disoriented, inadequate supervision by the flight instructor (CFI), darkness, and the inability of the student pilot to see the power lines during an emergency landing at night.

Full narrative available

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