NTSB Identification: LAX01LA192.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 25, 2001 in Mariposa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/28/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 150H, registration: N23474
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion after 2.1 hours of flight and 16-miles before reaching the intended destination. The pilot attributed the fuel exhaustion to an interruption that occurred during his (self) fueling of the aircraft, which resulted in the fuel tanks not being totally full on takeoff. As he was filling the left wing fuel tank before takeoff, the pilot was interrupted by another pilot who asked his assistance with operation of the self-fueling equipment. He completed filling the left tank and stopped to assist the other pilot. He returned to his airplane about 10 or 15 minutes later, filled the right-wing tank, and departed. The pilot believed that, during the interruption, a portion of the fuel in the left tank flowed across the aircraft to the right tank and, after he filled the right tank, the left tank was approximately 5 gallons below capacity. He reported making the same trip regularly. Assuming a zero to 5-knot headwind, the trip routinely required 20.3 or 20.4 gallons to complete. The aircraft had been modified to install a larger engine than the original and had a 24-gallon usable fuel capacity. The pilot reported that, on past flights at the same altitude and power setting, the engine consumed 9.17 gallons per hour (2.6 hours endurance).

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

The pilot's failure to properly refuel the aircraft which resulted in departure with an inadequate quantity of fuel onboard. A factor in the accident was the pilot's inadequate preflight preparation and planning, which failed to provide an adequate fuel reserve for the flight intended.

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