NTSB Identification: LAX02LA182.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 04, 2002 in Mountain Ranch, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N61569
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane lost engine power and collided with trees during a forced landing. The pilot planned the flight from Ramona, California, to the destination with an intermediate stop at Porterville. The total distance was 396 nm and the en route flight time was projected at 4 hours 6 minutes. The first leg to Porterville was uneventful and the pilot and passenger had lunch. No fuel was added to the tanks while at Porterville. The pilot said that during the second leg of the flight, about 1 hour 15 minutes after departure and while nearing the destination, the engine began to operate as though it was "starved for gasoline." The propeller continued to rotate; however, the engine failed to produce thrust. The pilot performed an emergency landing on a meadow and during the landing roll, the airplane impacted trees. Responding rescue personnel reported that there was no fire and no smell of fuel at the scene. An aircraft recovery service that retrieved the wreckage reported that no fuel was found in the aircraft at the accident site and that the vegetation surrounding the wreckage was not dead. An aircraft and engine examination, which included a detailed look at the fuel system components, revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction or failures. The aircraft was equipped with the standard range fuel tanks with a total useable capacity of 38 gallons.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight planning/preparation and his in-flight planning/decision resulting in fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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