NTSB Identification: IAD96LA056.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 04, 1996 in ROANOKE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/18/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 172E, registration: N5730T
Injuries: 3 Minor.

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 stated that during his preflight inspection of the airplane he visually inspected the fuel tanks and they appeared to be full. Approximately 10 minutes from the Roanoke Airport, the pilot noted that the fuel quantity gauges indicated about 1/4 tank of fuel. He contacted Roanoke ATC, advised them he was low on fuel, and proceeded inbound to land. Shortly thereafter, the engine began to sputter, then completely lost power. The pilot performed a forced landing, but '...[when the] main wheels hit the soft turf, the nose wheel dug into the ground and we flipped over.' Postaccident examination revealed no evidence of fuel present in the fuel tanks or the area surrounding the accident site. The pilot stated that, although he had requested that the airplane be 'topped off' with fuel before his flight, another pilot had flown for 1.6 hours since the airplane was refueled. He stated that he should have used a more precise method to measure fuel quantity before he departed.

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

the pilot's misjudged estimation of the airplane's fuel supply for the flight. Related factors are the inadequate preflight inspection, the pilot's expectation that the airplane had been topped off, and the soft terrain encountered during the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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