NTSB Identification: NYC96FA084.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 06, 1996 in FREEHOLD TWSP, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/22/1996
Aircraft: Pitts S-2B, registration: N917JD
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

After being airborne on a local flight for what the pilot estimated as 20 minutes, the engine lost power. Witnesses observed the airplane in a forced landing, about 20 feet above the ground, when the nose suddenly dropped and the airplane struck the ground in a nose low attitude. Less than a quart of fuel was found in the fuel tanks and fuel sump. No fuel was found in the fuel lines, and there was no evidence of a fuel spill. The airplane had two fuel quantity measuring systems. One was electronic and recorded fuel used. The other measured quantity, and consisted of a sight gage. The pilot reported that the fuel tank was 60 to 70 percent full (13.8 to 16.1 gallons) on preflight. The sight gage indicates more fuel on the ground than in flight. According to the flight manual, the sight gage is calibrated for level flight only. A production test pilot reported that the airplane's nose will drop straight ahead in a coordinated stall.

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

the pilot's improper fuel management which resulted in a power loss due to fuel exhaustion, and his failure to maintain airspeed during a forced landing which resulted in an inadvertent stall.

Full narrative available

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