NTSB Identification: SEA07CA113.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 27, 2007 in Prineville, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N40520
Injuries: 2 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 the preflight inspection, the pilot looked at the fuel level sight gauges and did not see a meniscus point in the clear tubes. He therefore assumed that this meant the tanks were completely full and that the entire sight gauge was filled with fuel. About five minutes after departure the aircraft ran out of fuel, and during the ensuing forced landing the aircraft nosed over on the soft, brushy terrain as the pilot applied "excessive braking" in order to stop before reaching a line of trees. After the accident, the pilot checked his fueling log, and then realized that the fuel tanks had been almost completely empty prior to takeoff, and that the reason he saw no meniscus point in the fuel quantity sight gauges was because the lines were completely full of air. The pilot had not visually checked the fuel tanks during his preflight.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot failing to correctly read the fuel quantity sight gauges. Factors include soft, brushy terrain, and the pilot's intentional excessive braking during the forced landing. Full narrative available
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