NTSB Identification: LAX98LA194.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 13, 1998 in MECCA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2000
Aircraft: Scott DRAGONFLY, registration: N824JC
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 had received approximately 2 hours of instruction in the accident aircraft before the accident flight. During climbout the fuel gage for the header tank was indicating a lowering trend, and when he leveled the aircraft to obtain another reading, he noted a lesser amount than expected. He attempted to make a precautionary landing at an alternate airport; however, 6 miles from the alternate airport the engine surged and lost power. The pilot attempted an unsuccessful restart, and made an emergency landing in a soft dirt field. The previous owner of the aircraft stated that on the day of the accident the aircraft was refueled out of a gas can, but he did not remember the amount of fuel. He stated that the aircraft carries approximately 16 gallons of fuel and the header tank has approximately 45 minutes of flight time. The previous owner stated that the transfer pump is supposed to be on at all times, and the fuel is transferred from the main tank to the header tank via a transfer pump. The header tank is supposed to remain full at all times through this procedure. A site gage is available and when the fuel drops below the green mark it indicates that the transfer pump is either not on or there is something wrong with it. When the transfer pump is off, a red caution light illuminates to let the pilot know that something is not working properly. According to a fueling log obtained from the local fuel company, two miscellaneous fuel sales were made on the day of the accident. One sale was for 10.8 gallons with no aircraft identifier, the other sale was for 5.2 gallons and was a cash sale in a gas can.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and his failure to ensure sufficient fuel was in the airplane, which subsequently led to fuel exhaustion. A related factor was the soft terrain.

Full narrative available

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