NTSB Identification: DEN03LA055.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 23, 2003 in Espanola, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Mohr Starduster Too, registration: N3696
Injuries: 2 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.

The pilot was ferrying the airplane to its new owner. He stopped en route and refueled the airplane with approximately 18 gallons of fuel. This filled the tank to capacity. He "stuck" (or dipsticked) the tank "to determine fuel capacity and figured it must be close to what we were told (30 gallons). Apparently, it doesn't hold quite that much." After takeoff, he lost sight of the airplane he had been following. He elected to continue the flight. The airplane was not equipped with a navigation or communication radio. During this leg of the flight, the navigation chart blew out of the open cockpit. The pilot said he thought he could remember where he was going, but misidentified a landmark and crossed the mountains south of where he thought he was. As he circled a town to reorient himself, the engine lost power "due to fuel exhaustion." The airplane had been aloft 2 hours, 20 minutes. The pilot made a forced landing on a golf course, which he described as "unsuitable terrain." During the landing, the airplane struck an earth berm that tore off the landing gear. The lower right wing tip on the biplane was crushed and the propeller was bent.

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

the pilot's improper inflight planning in that he failed to consult the airplane flight manual, his use of incorrect fuel consumption figures, and fuel exhaustion. Contributing factors were the loss of the en route chart, the unavailability of a nav/comm radio, the pilot becoming lost/disoriented, and the berm.

Full narrative available

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