NTSB Identification: NYC99LA179.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 17, 1999 in HERMON, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Allen-Charles BARRACUDA, registration: N849JA
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.

During a cross country flight in a homebuilt airplane, when the airplane was about 60 to 90 nautical miles from it's destination, the pilot noticed the airplane's left and right fuel gages were both indicating 1/8 full. The pilot decided to land early at another airport. However, due to haze and the anxiety of the situation, the pilot was unable to find a suitable airport so he elected to make a precautionary landing on a grass field. During the landing, the airplane's landing gear separated and the airplane incurred spar damage. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any pre-landing malfunctions of the airframe or engine. The left fuel gage needle indicated 'E,' and the right fuel gage needle indicated about 1/8 full. When the airplane was placed on level ground, visual examination of the fuel tanks revealed that about 1/4 inch of fuel remained in the left fuel tank, and approximately 4 inches of fuel remained in the right fuel tank. The pilot reported 321.8 hours of total flight experience, of which, 18.3 hours were in the make and model of the accident airplane.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning which resulted in a precautionary landing. A factor in this accident was the pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain for the precautionary landing.

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