NTSB Identification: SEA02LA113.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 25, 2002 in Mt. Vernon, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N29441
Injuries: 1 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.


Because he knew his aircraft was very low on fuel, the pilot considered refueling before departing Oak Harbor Airport. However, since there was no fuel available at the airport itself, he dipped the aircraft's fuel tanks with a fuel quantity measuring device, and estimated the remaining fuel to be around four to five gallons. Based on that indicated quantity, he elected to depart for Skagit Regional Airport. As the aircraft approached the airport on an extended base leg at approximately 1,400 feet above the terrain, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot therefore activated the electric fuel pump, and the engine restarted and produced power for about another 30 seconds before losing power again. Because there were trees between the aircraft and the runway, the pilot decided to attempt a forced landing on a road in a nearby berry field. The touchdown was uneventful, however, the aircraft's wing collided with a portable outhouse while on the landing roll. A post-accident inspection of the aircraft determined that except for a very small amount of residual fuel, the aircraft's fuel tanks had been run dry.

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

The pilot's failure to accurately determine the amount of fuel onboard. Factors included trees, and a portable restroom.

Full narrative available

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