NTSB Identification: LAX89LA256.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39829.
Accident occurred Friday, July 28, 1989 in MARANA, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/1991
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N61552
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.

BEFORE TAKING OFF ON A FLT FOR A BIENNIAL FLT REVIEW, THE PVT PLT PREFLIGHTED THE ACFT & THE INSTRUCTOR (CFI) TOOK HIS WORD THAT ABOUT 20 GAL OF FUEL WAS ON BOARD. THE OPERATOR RPRTD THE CFI WAS AWARE THAT THE LEFT FUEL GAGE WAS INOP. NO DIP STICK WAS USED TO MEASURE THE QUANTITY OF FUEL BEFORE TAKEOFF. AFTER ABOUT 35 MIN OF FLT, THE ENG LOST POWER AS THE STUDENT WAS MAKING A GO-AROUND FROM A SIMULATED FORCED LNDG, BUT FULL POWER RESUMED WHEN THE NOSE WAS LOWERED. ABOUT 1 TO 2 MINS LATER, THE ENG LOST POWER AGAIN, BUT WOULD NOT RESTART. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ACFT WAS DAMAGED WHEN IT HIT A SAGUARO (TREE LIKE) CACTUS DRG AN EMERGENCY LANDING. NO FUEL WAS FOUND IN THE TANKS AFTER THE ACDNT.

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

INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT BY THE STUDENT PILOT, INADEQUATE SUPERVISION BY THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR (CFI), AND FUEL EXHAUSTION DUE TO LACK OF FUEL. RELATED FACTORS WERE: INOPERATIVE LEFT FUEL QUANTITY GAGE, THE CFI'S DECISION TO MAKE THE FLIGHT WITH A KNOWN DEFICIENCY IN THE FUEL GAGE, AND OBSTRUCTIONS (TREE LIKE CACTUS) IN THE EMERGENCY LANDING AREA.

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