NTSB Identification: SEA97LA111.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 12, 1997 in FREELAND, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/24/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 150M, registration: N7557A
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.

While returning to the airport of initial departure after practicing landings at another airport, the engine lost all power. The flight instructor attempted a forced landing in an open field during light rain. During his approach to the field, he allowed his airspeed and altitude to get too high, and he missed his touchdown point. The aircraft initially touched down after passing over two-thirds of the available landing distance, and then bounced back into the air. When it touched down again on the wet grass, there was not enough distance remaining to stop the aircraft prior to it running off the end of the field and colliding with trees. During the investigation, it was revealed that prior to takeoff, the flight instructor had determined the total fuel in the aircraft by allowing the student pilot to dip the tanks with a homemade wooden measuring stick. The instructor did not monitor the student as he made the measurements, but simply took his word for what the measurements were. Based upon those measurements, the instructor estimated that the aircraft had about 11 gallons of fuel onboard prior to departure. After the accident, 1.5 gallons of fuel were found in the left wing, 2.5 gallons were found in the right wing, and one ounce of fuel was found in the carburetor bowl. It was also noted that according to the Pilot's Operating Handbook, of the possible 26 gallons of total fuel capacity, 3.5 gallons are unusable.

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

Fuel exhaustion due to the flight instructor's failure to insure there was proper fuel in the aircraft and the flight instructor's misjudgment of his altitude and airspeed while executing a power-off forced landing in a large open field. Factors include: a wet landing surface and trees located on the boundary of the field.

Full narrative available

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