NTSB Identification: IAD97LA053.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 09, 1997 in WEIRS CAVE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/30/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 175, registration: N9485B
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After refueling the airplane with 43.1 gallons of fuel, the pilot departed at 1645, for the return cross-country flight. Twenty miles from his destination, the engine began running rough. The pilot applied carburetor heat, and the situation remedied itself. Shortly thereafter, at 2012, the engine stopped completely. The airplane impacted the terrain in a partially wooded field about 3 miles north of his destination. Minimum (residual) fuel was found during a post-accident examination of the airplane. A Federal Aviation Administration Inspector stated that there were no signs of fuel stains on the wreckage to indicate that fuel was leaking from the fuel tanks, or from elsewhere. The pilot stated that he had 52 gallons of fuel for flight planning purposes. The Cessna owner's manual indicates the total fuel capacity was 52 gallons, with 43 gallons usable. The cruise performance chart in the owner's manual indicated that at 5,000 feet altitude with a 72% power setting and the mixture rich, the engine would use 12.3 gallons of fuel per hour, with an endurance time of 3.5 hours.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight planning/preparation, and inaccurate fuel calculations, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, loss of engine power, and a forced landing. Darkness and high vegetation in the forced landing area were related factors.

Full narrative available

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