NTSB Identification: LAX96LA266.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 07, 1996 in CHINO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/18/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 150J, registration: N50814
Injuries: 1 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 aircraft was modified with a 180-hp Lycoming O-360 engine and a Cessna 172 fuel system (tanks, fuel vents, and fuel selector valve.) Each wing tank holds 20 usable gallons; total fuel capacity 40 gallons. The pilot this was the first flight in this aircraft, and her first solo banner tow flight. Her prior flight experience was gained primarily in a Cessna 210 and North American T-28. The pilot reported that she had returned to the airport after a 3-hour mission and entered the traffic pattern to drop the banner. The engine quit on downwind. The pilot dropped the banner and attempted to make the runway, but landed about 30 feet short in the dirt and nosed over in soft soil. The pilot stated that following the engine failure she lowered full flaps. The pilot reported that she had been feeding off the right tank during the last 40 minutes or so of the flight and may have forgotten to reposition the selector to the both position before entering the traffic pattern and inadvertently ran one tank dry. The pilot noted that this aircraft has a fuel system significantly different from the other banner towing aircraft in the operator's fleet that she flew in during the dual banner towing training flights. She said she repeatedly asked the operator for a manual on the aircraft to learn the system differences but was told that one was not available. An FAA inspector examined the aircraft and found no fuel in the right tank and about 13 gallons in the left. An engine test was subsequently run using the aircrafts fuel and ignition systems; the engine started on the first attempt and ran normally.

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

Fuel starvation due to the pilot's failure to monitor and correctly configure the fuel system for landing prior to entering the traffic pattern, and the pilot's premature lowering of full flaps which led to the runway undershoot. A factor in the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the type of operation and in this highly modified aircraft.

Full narrative available

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