NTSB Identification: LAX06CA294.
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Accident occurred Friday, September 15, 2006 in Watsonville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Grumman American AVN. CORP. AA-5, registration: N6532L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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.

During cruise flight the engine lost power and the airplane impacted several objects in a residential area about 2,000 feet from the airport during an attempted forced landing. The flight was 310 nautical miles. The pilot said that during the preflight he visually checked the fuel levels, which were near the top in both tanks. He calculated his time en route based on a no-wind condition as 2.58 hours, with 38 gallons of fuel and an 8-gallon per hour fuel burn. Prior to departure, he checked weather, which showed that he would encounter 10- to 15-knot headwinds. He reported that two of the flight's legs were longer than he had planned by a total of 35 minutes. He had begun to worry about the airplane's fuel state and had briefly considered a fuel stop short of his destination to refuel. During the descent to his destination airport, the pilot switched the fuel selector to the right fuel tank and the engine lost power. He switched to the left tank, the engine started again, but then lost power. The pilot attempted a forced landing at an uncontrolled airport, but the airplane did not have sufficient altitude to make the runway, and it landed in a residential area short of the airport. A deputy who responded to the accident site noted that there was no smell of fuel around the airplane and the left wing fuel tank was empty. The right wing had separated during the accident sequence. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical anomalies encountered with the airplane or engine.

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

A loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight planning, en route fuel consumption calculations, and in-flight decision to continue to the destination instead of stopping en route for fuel.

Full narrative available

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