NTSB Identification: NYC02LA182.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 05, 2002 in Oxford, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Duffy Vans RV-9A, registration: N945D
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

During a night flight, the airplane lost total engine power shortly after departure, about 15 miles from the airport. The pilot initially elected to divert to another airport 3 miles away and 2,500 feet below; however, he subsequently decided to land on a road after not being able to see the runway lights. During the landing, the airplane bounced five or six times, struck a sign, veered off the road and nosed over. The pilot had replaced the fuel gauge about 1 week prior to the accident. He had difficulty calibrating the new fuel gauge, and received assistance telephonically from the manufacturer during the calibration. The pilot believed that he had taken off with about 1/2 tank of fuel onboard. An examination of the airplane after the accident revealed that the fuel tanks were empty; however, the fuel gauge indicated 8 gallons. The source of the fuel inaccuracy was undetermined. The airplane had accumulated 11.4 hours of flight time since installation of the fuel gauge. The pilot filled the fuel tanks at 47.0 flight hours, and lost total engine power at 50.9 flight hours. A "must read" notice in the fuel gauge operating manual stated: "Do not solely rely on the FL-2 to determine the fuel level in the fuel tanks."

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

The pilot's improper fuel calculations, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power. Factors included an inaccurate fuel gauge indication for undetermined reasons, the pilot's reliance on that indication, the night lighting conditions, and a sign alongside the forced landing road.

Full narrative available

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