NTSB Identification: FTW97LA010.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 07, 1996 in GULF OF MEXICO, GM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/02/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N5525L
Injuries: 2 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 airplane ran out of fuel approximately 11 miles SSE of Galveston, Texas. The pilot transmitted a 'MAYDAY' radio call to Galveston Airport tower, informing them that he ran out of fuel and was going to ditch near an oil rig. After ditching, both occupants swam to the rig safely. The aircraft sank and has not been recovered. The pilot stated that he departed the airport with full fuel tanks (24.5 gallons usable) at 1200, and flew approximately 100 miles outbound into the Gulf of Mexico on a magnetic course of 147 degrees. At about 1335, after completion of the aerial survey, he proceeded inbound on a 355 degree course for the return to Galveston. In a weather brief prior to his initial departure, the forecast winds were 030 degrees at 25 knots. According to the pilot, the actual winds 'turned out to be a great deal stronger and from a more northerly heading.' Usable fuel was exhausted at approximately 1505, about 10 miles from the shore line. The airplane was airborne for about 3 hours 5 minutes.

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

fuel exhaustion due to the pilot's inadequate in-flight fuel consumption calculations.

Full narrative available

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