NTSB Identification: ATL05LA031.
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Accident occurred Monday, November 29, 2004 in Smyrna, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 172K, registration: N78402
Injuries: 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 private pilot stated he visually checked the fuel tanks before departing on the VFR flight and fuel was present in the fuel tanks. He could not remember what time he departed. While turning from base to final at his destination airport the engine quit. He switched the fuel tanks and attempted a restart which was unsuccessful. The airplane cleared trees at the approach end of the runway and collided with the ground. The nose gear separated, the airplane continued forward, and collided with the airport fence. Examination of the crash site revealed the left and right fuel tanks were not ruptured. No fuel was present in either fuel tank. The airplane was recovered to an airport hangar and the left and right fuel sumps were drained. One fourth of a gallon of fuel was removed from the left fuel tank drain. No fuel was recovered from the right fuel tank drain. A support brace was placed under the airplane. The engine was started and the engine ran at idle power for 3 minutes before the engine lost power.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning of fuel required for the flight, and his inadequate in-flight planning/decision which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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