NTSB Identification: FTW01FA188.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 22, 2001 in Weatherford, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/13/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N4755B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
During his second solo cross-country instructional flight, the student pilot reported to the controller that he was lost and low on fuel. The student told the controller that the left fuel gage indicated FULL and the right fuel gage indicated EMPTY. The controller issued the student suggested headings to the nearest airport. The student pilot located the airport and entered the traffic pattern for a landing on runway 17. During the landing roll to the south, the airplane bounced, exited the runway into the grass, and the student performed a go-around. Subsequently, the student landed the airplane to the north on runway 35. Witnesses reported the airplane remained on the runway with the elevators up, flaps retracted, and the propeller turning, before it rolled off the end of the runway at an "estimated speed of 30 mph." Witnesses never saw or heard any indication of braking, nor the addition of power. The airplane struck a vehicle traveling east at 60 mph on an interstate highway located north of the airport. Winds at the time of the accident were from the south at 20 knots. The accident flight time was 2.3 hours. Examination of the airplane's fuel system and its maintenance records revealed that the original left fuel tank transmitter (manufactured by Stewart Warner) was replaced in October 1999 with a new transmitter (manufactured by Rochester). Research revealed that by 1991, the Stewart Warner transmitters and fuel gages were no longer procurable for the airplane, and the Rochester transmitters and gages were to be installed by Service Bulletin (SB)/Service Kit (SK). According to the SB/SK, installation of a Rochester transmitter also requires installation of a Rochester gage. Neither the SB nor the SK had been complied with on the accident airplane. The Rochester gage assembly requires an aluminum back plate. Both fuel gages found in the airplane were Stewart Warner and the back plate was steel. According to the manufacturer representative, "with the Rochester transmitter installed with the Stewart Warner fuel gage, the gage indication would increase as the fuel level in the tank got lower." Physical evidence of fuel leakage from the left tank was found at the tank, the tank fitting, and the inboard wing where the tank was installed. No evidence was found of an in-flight mechanical and or flight/control malfunction that would have rendered the airplane uncontrollable prior to the impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The student pilot's improper decision making in that he landed with a tailwind and failed to execute a go-around, which resulted in a runway overrun. Contributing factors were the inaccurate reading of the left fuel gage as a result of improper maintenance by the operator/maintenance personnel, and the tailwind condition. Full narrative available
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