NTSB Identification: DFW05CA061.
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Accident occurred Monday, January 24, 2005 in McAlister, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2005
Aircraft: Maule M-4-210C, registration: N9866M
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 private pilot reported that during the trip, he had been monitoring his fuel quantity based on calculations derived from the fuel flow indications by a fuel flow meter that was installed in his airplane. He was convinced that he had enough fuel to make it to his destination; however, when the airplane was approximately five miles east of the airport, the engine quit. The pilot looked down and noticed that the fuel quantity indicators indicated that the fuel tanks were empty. The pilot then elected to execute a forced landing into a cow pasture to the south; however, he did not complete an emergency pre-landing checklist, which included instructions to pull the mixture to an "idle cut-off" position and turn off the ignition switch . He circled the field once to lose altitude and attempted to land in a southerly direction when the engine got a "surge of fuel" and "restarted at full cruise power." The pilot then made a 180-degree turn to stay in the field. During the turn, the engine lost power once again, and "the airplane stalled and landed hard." An examination of the airplane by an FAA Inspector revealed that the fuel tanks were empty.

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

The loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as result of the pilot's improper fuel calculations, and his inadequate in-flight planning decision. A contributing factor was the pilot's failure to complete an emergency pre-landing checklist, which resulted in a fuel surge during his first attempted landing into the field.

Full narrative available

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