NTSB Identification: CHI97LA241.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 01, 1997 in EAGLE, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Bellanca 17-30A, registration: N8237R
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 said that he had departed with a main fuel tank selected to feed the engine. Once the airplane got above '4,500 feet,' the pilot switched to an auxiliary fuel tank. 'Fuel usage was timed using a countdown clock for each tank. Approaching Lansing, [Michigan] I requested and got flight following to Detroit. A few minutes later, my fuel countdown clock signaled time for a fuel cell change.' The pilot switched to a full tank. At that time, the engine lost power. The pilot switched to another full tank, but the engine wound not start. 'I told Lansing Approach of my problem; they gave me the direction to the nearest airport, and I did the Bellanca Viking restart procedure. The plane would not restart.' The pilot declared an emergency and force landed the airplane in a cornfield. Examination of the wreckage revealed that one of the airplane's five fuel tanks was empty. The remaining fuel tanks were full of fuel. No other anomalies were revealed with the airplane.

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

the pilot's inaccurate fuel consumption calculations, his decision to switch fuel tanks too late, and fuel starvation.

Full narrative available

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