NTSB Identification: DEN04LA069.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 07, 2004 in Paragonah, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Branham Vans RV-6, registration: N29KB
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot stated he visually inspected the fuel tanks and determined the right tank was just over 1/2 full, and the left tank was approximately 1/4 full, for an estimated total of 16 gallons. The pilot wrote, "A visual check confirmed fuel, but it is difficult to judge [the] amount visually." At a fuel consumption rate of 10 gallons per hour, the pilot estimated he had at least 1.5 hours endurance, which would allow him to complete the flight. The pilot flew for 25 minutes on the right tank, flew 25 minutes on the left tank, then switched back to the right tank. Shortly thereafter, the right fuel gauge registered empty. The pilot switched back to the left tank and "about 12 miles [from his destination] the tank went dry." The engine lost power shortly thereafter, and he made a forced landing in a field. During the landing, the left wing tip struck a berm and was sheared off. The left fuel tank was breached, the firewall was buckled, and the engine separated from the firewall. The pilot said that he "should have had enough fuel for the trip but unfortunately that proved not to be the case."

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight and in-flight planning/decision which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the loss of engine power. The berm and the pilot not stopping to refuel the airplane were contributing factors.

Full narrative available

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