NTSB Identification: LAX04LA092.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 11, 2004 in Vacaville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 140, registration: N77S
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 experienced a loss of power and collided with a tree during a forced landing. Earlier in the day the pilot had flown from Vacaville to Napa, and the accident flight leg was to return to Vacaville. Prior to departure, the pilot calculated that he had about 1 hour's worth of fuel on board the airplane to complete the short 15-minute trip and leave a 45-minute reserve. As the airplane approached the vicinity of the destination airport in dark night conditions, the pilot obtained the automated weather observation station (AWOS) report and discovered that the weather conditions were deteriorating at the destination airport. When he arrived over the airport he noted that a fog layer had engulfed the airport and surrounding terrain. While maneuvering, the pilot exhausted both fuel tanks and the engine subsequently quit. He established a gliding configuration, and the airplane descended into the fog about 700 feet above ground level (agl). The airplane collided with a small tree and then encountered a berm. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane at the accident site and reported finding the left fuel tank empty; he drained 3 quarts of fuel from the right tank.

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

the pilot's failure to either obtain a preflight weather report and forecast for the destination or to add additional fuel, which ultimately resulted in fuel exhaustion and collision with trees.

Full narrative available

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