NTSB Identification: IAD97LA016.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 05, 1996 in GAITHERSBURG, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/1998
Aircraft: Grumman American AA-1B, registration: N9926L
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 pilot last flew the airplane about 45 days before the accident. He stated that he thought the left wing fuel tank was 1/3 full and the right wing fuel tank was half full, based on the fuel he purchased before his previous flight. The pilot stated that he performed a preflight inspection and had removed the fuel caps. He was unable to see fuel due to the design of the tanks. The pilot stated that when a perspective buyer of the airplane arrived, they boarded the airplane and taxied to the runway. The engine runup, takeoff roll, and rotation were normal. At about 200 feet, the engine lost power, and the pilot initiated a left turn back to the runway. The airplane impacted the ground, skidded across a raised road, and continued down a steep grade where it nosed over. The pilot and passenger exited through the rear window openings. The pilot could not recall looking at the fuel sight gauges in the cockpit before takeoff. An FAA inspector found no mechanical problem with the engine, and stated that no fuel could be found in the airplane or at the scene.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight, and his failure to detect an insufficent fuel supply, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a forced landing after takeoff. Uneven terrain (drop-off in the emergency landing area) was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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