NTSB Identification: LAX97LA168.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 26, 1997 in HEMET, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Cessna T182, registration: N5482N
Injuries: 3 Serious.

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 engine lost power during cruise flight, and the airplane was destroyed during the subsequent forced landing. During the investigation of the airframe and engine, no fuel was found in either aircraft wing tank, the fuel feed line to the engine, or the fuel filter bowl. No other preevent malfunctions or abnormalities were discovered in either the airframe or the engine. During his preflight inspection, the pilot stated that the cockpit fuel gauges did not agree with the amount of fuel he saw when he visually checked the fuel tanks for quantity. However, he did not dip check the tanks to verify the amount of fuel onboard. Available aircraft and fueling records indicated that at the time of the accident the aircraft had been flown for 5.3 hours since last refueled, with four takeoffs and landings accomplished. The pilot's handbook for the aircraft states a maximum endurance of 5.5 hours with one takeoff and landing included.

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

the pilot's decision not to dip check the aircraft fuel tanks after he had noted a disagreement between the cockpit fuel gages and what he had observed visually in the fuel tanks, and his failure to accomplish in-flight endurance calculations based on aircraft handbook performance data, which led to the engine power loss due to fuel exhaustion.

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