NTSB Identification: LAX97LA157.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 12, 1997 in HILO, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: de Havilland DHC-6-300, registration: N242CA
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.

On a ferry flight from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, the pilot declared a low fuel emergency and diverted toward Hilo, Hawaii. Approximately 2.5 hours later, the aircraft was ditched in the Pacific ocean. The pilot evacuated the aircraft before it sank and was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. He stated that, under flight planned conditions, the aircraft departed Oakland with sufficient fuel onboard to reach the intended destination with a 2-hour fuel reserve. However, the winds at flight altitude, which were reported as light and variable at the preflight weather briefing, developed into a significant headwind during the flight. At a point 7 hours and 10 minutes into the flight, the pilot determined that his fuel remaining was 8 hours and 40 minutes, with 7 hours and 40 minutes remaining to destination. Three hours later, the pilot determined that his 2-hour reserve was gone. He declared an emergency and diverted toward the closest airport, which was Hilo. Prior to fuel system exhaustion, the pilot elected to ditch the aircraft with power.

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

the pilot's inadequate en route fuel consumption calculations, which led to his failure to recognize a deteriorating fuel duration versus time-to-go situation in a more timely way.

Full narrative available

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