NTSB Identification: LAX05LA261.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 07, 2005 in Oro Valley, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Mooney M20C, registration: N6330Q
Injuries: 2 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.

While entering the arrival pattern at the destination the airplane exhausted its fuel and the pilot executed an emergency landing short of the runway. The pilot had been airborne for about 5 hours 10 minutes. She had been managing the fuel system by switching tanks about every hour. She made the final switch to the right tank 10 minutes prior to arriving at her destination airport. She overflew the destination airport and executed the prescribed entry. While in a left-hand turn to enter the downwind leg, and at 1,500 feet above ground level (agl), the engine began to run abnormally and then lost power. She diverted to the crosswind runway, and landed short of the runway threshold in desert vegetation. An examination of the airplane revealed that neither the left wing fuel tank or the right wing fuel tank contained fuel. The tanks were not compromised and there was no evidence of fuel leakage. In this unfueled condition both left and right cockpit fuel gages read 1/4. The airplane was fueled with 1 gallon avgas in the left tank. The engine was started and ran satisfactorily.

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

a loss of engine power due to the pilot's inaccurate fuel consumption calculations that resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the inaccuracy of the cockpit fuel gages which read 1/4 tank when empty.

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