NTSB Identification: SEA04LA182.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 05, 2004 in Port Angeles, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 172E, registration: N5788T
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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 reported that he finger inspected both fuel tanks prior to takeoff. The pilot-rated observer noticed that while taxiing for takeoff the left fuel gauge read somewhere near 1/2, while the right gauge read near full. Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes into the flight the pilot and pilot-rated observer became concerned with the aircraft's fuel state and elected to proceed to a nearby airport to refuel. Approximately 15 minutes later the right fuel tank ran dry and the engine quit. After switching to the left tank the pilot was successful in restarting the engine. Approximately 5 minutes later the left fuel tank ran dry and the engine quit a second time, prompting the pilot to make a landing in a hay field about 5 miles west of the destination airport. The pilot landed long, and in an attempt to avoid a fence veered 90 degrees to the left before impacting a ditch, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing. The airplane had accumulated 4.3 hours of flying time since its most recent refueling with both tanks being filled to capacity. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical problems with the airplane. Post-accident inspection of the fuel tanks revealed that no fuel was present in either the right or left fuel tanks.

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

The pilot's inadequate inflight decision by failing to refuel while en route, resulting in fuel exhaustion and the loss of power. Factors contributing to the accident included the fence and the ditch.

Full narrative available

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