NTSB Identification: IAD98LA030.
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Accident occurred Thursday, February 26, 1998 in RUTLAND, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/30/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N5593E
Injuries: 2 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 planned a 250 nautical mile trip at a cruise speed of 100 knots in a no wind condition. He planned for a 5 hour fuel endurance with a 45 minute reserve. The pilot filed a VFR flight plan, but did not adjust the estimated time en route for a 44 knot headwind. He checked the fuel quantity 'once or twice' during the flight and did not check the fuel quantity, when he called to extend his flight plan due to headwinds. In cruise flight at 3,000 feet, 3 to 5 miles from the destination airport, the engine sputtered. The pilot completed the engine restart procedure, but the engine only 'windmilled,' and then stopped completely. The pilot stated: 'I ran out of fuel and had to set down in a field.' The pilot performed a forced landing to a field. During approach, the airplane 'clipped' light brush and the tops of some small trees. The nose gear collapsed during the landing roll. Less than 1 gallon of fuel was recovered from the airplane. The pilot reported 112 hours of flight experience of which 24 were in make and model.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight planning/decision, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, loss of engine power, and a forced landing. Related factors were: unfavorable (headwind) conditions, and brush/small trees in the forced landing area.

Full narrative available

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