NTSB Identification: FTW01LA131.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2001 in Georgetown, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N5447J
Injuries: 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the day VFR cross-country flight, the single-engine airplane landed short of the runway following a total loss of engine power. The pilot reported that he had previously flown the reverse course without stopping for fuel en route. Further, the pilot stated that he knew the inaccuracy of the fuel gauges which read empty when 1/2 full. The airplane was refueled at the departure airport; however, there were no en route refueling stops on the day of the accident. The airplane was approximately 14 nautical miles from the destination airport when the pilot informed the controller that the airplane was "out of fuel." The pilot received radar vectors to the nearest airport. During the final approach, the airplane cleared high lines; however, the airplane "seemed to hit a downdraft over a grove of trees," and the nose landing gear struck the trees. Subsequently, the airplane impacted the ground. The wind was reported from 150 degrees at 16 knots with gust to 20 knots.

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

the pilot's failure to refuel the aircraft resulting in fuel exhaustion during cruise flight. A contributing factor was the gusty wind encountered during the forced landing.

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