NTSB Identification: LAX04CA117.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 07, 2004 in FOWLER, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2004
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N8702Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane made an off airport landing in a field following a total loss of engine power. While in cruise flight, about 25 miles north of the pilot's planned destination, the engine lost power. He switched the fuel selector to the left position, but the engine would not restart. After clearing several power lines, he made a forced landing in a sandy, dirt field. On the landing rollout, more than halfway across the field, he applied brake pressure and the wheels dug into the soft terrain. The airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. The pilot had recently bought the airplane and had only accumulated about 2-3 hours in it. He thought that the accident was the result of fuel exhaustion, and noted that he did not use the electric boost pump while attempting a restart due to his lack of familiarity with the airplane. Four gallons were drained from the fuel system after the accident. According to the FAA approved flight manual for the airplane, the fuel system total capacity is 80 gallons, with 6 gallons unusable. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

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

the pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power due to an inadequate fuel supply. A factor in the accident was the pilot's lack of familiarity with the airplane.

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