NTSB Identification: SEA97LA017.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 17, 1996 in POCATELLO, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q, registration: N5117N
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 lost engine power while inbound for landing after a cross-country flight, and it nosed over during the ensuing forced landing. The pilot had flown several legs before the accident flight, and did not refuel at any en route stops. Both wing tanks were found empty, and no fuel was found in the gascolator. The pilot provided a statement including departure and arrival times and fuel on board for each of four legs. He stated that he used a calibrated dipstick to check fuel before his last departure on the 42-mile return flight. He said that the fuel remaining at that time was 19 gallons. Unusable fuel was 4 gallons. An inquiry to a Civil Air Patrol safety officer revealed that the dipstick was homemade; its accuracy was not determined. No mechanical discrepancy was found with the aircraft. There was evidence of inadequate consideration by the pilot concerning the accuracy of the dipstick calibration. Also, there was evidence that the aircraft may not have been in a level attitude when the dipstick readings were made.

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

inadequate preflight by the pilot, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, due to an inadequate supply of fuel. Soft terrain at the emergency landing site was a related factor.

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