NTSB Identification: DEN08LA109.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 21, 2008 in Von Ormy, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/26/2008
Aircraft: Flight Design GMBH CTSW, registration: N460CT
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.

As the pilot was being radar vectored through controlled airspace, the engine began to sputter and then it "stopped." The pilot was unable to restart the engine, so he moved the propeller to the horizontal position "to protect the engine during touchdown." He selected a "good field" in level pastureland for the forced landing. After turning onto the base leg, he noticed a number of horses grazing at the beginning of the field and he turned on final approach sooner than intended. This moved his touchdown point further downfield than he wanted. Indicated airspeed was 50 mph in the flare. He lowered the flaps to 40 degrees. As soon as he cleared the horses, he retracted the flaps to "increase the friction of the brakes on the grassy pasture surface. This made the pasture a little short" and the airplane overran the end and struck a wire fence, collapsing the nose gear and buckling the composite structure. The pilot admitted that the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion "which could have been avoided by obtaining fuel at the last stop." He said the airplane was not equipped with in-flight readable fuel indicators, only a dipstick gauge, and this makes it "tricky to utilize the full 34 gallon capacity." He concluded that "an accurate fuel gauge and experience with timing and fuel usage at a certain RPM would have solved this fuel management problem." He recommended that "the fuel indicator tubes in the wing roots be changed at every annual inspection."

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight decision by failing to refuel while en route, resulting in fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident were a proper touchdown point was not possible and the inadequate display of the fuel quantity indicator.

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