NTSB Identification: IAD97LA074.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 10, 1997 in LEWISBURG, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1999
Aircraft: American AA-1, registration: N5734L
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot was en route to his destination with a planned stopover airport. Due to weather, the pilot switched his stopover airport and obtained the local weather. At that time, the pilot checked the right fuel tank and found it half full. Minutes later, the right fuel tank sight gauge indicated empty. Not sure how much fuel was onboard, the pilot radioed Air Traffic Control and stated that he was fuel critical. Shortly afterwards, the engine lost power and the pilot switched to the left tank. After a brief period, the engine lost power once again, and the pilot switched back to the right fuel tank. The engine produced power for a short period, and then lost power once more. Unable to restart the engine, the pilot executed a forced landing to a small pasture. The left main and nose gears collapsed on impact and the airplane slid through a wooden post supporting a metal wire fence coming to rest upright, on the reciprocal heading. Inspection of the engine found no anomalies. No useable fuel was found onboard. The right fuel tank cap was missing and was not found in the impact area.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight, which led to the loss of a fuel cap and subsequent fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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