NTSB Identification: SEA08LA191
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 29, 2008 in Burbank, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/29/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N172ST
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot departed on the two-leg, round robin cross-country flight with 40 gallons of fuel on board, having been trained to use 8 to 10 gallons per hour (gph) for flight planning purposes. The pilot flight and fuel planned for the first leg of the flight; however, he did not flight or fuel plan for the return second leg. The first leg of the 286 nautical mile flight was planned for an average ground speed of 98 knots and an average fuel burn of 8 gph. The flight took 2.8 hours, consumed 24.7 gallons of fuel, and landed with 15.3 gallons of fuel remaining. Prior to departing on the return leg the pilot added 10 gallons of fuel, for a total of 25.3 gallons, which equates to an endurance of 2.8 hours at an average fuel burn of 9 gph. By regulation, the pilot should have had a minimum of 32 gallons fuel on board; 25 gallons for the en route portion and 7 gallons reserve. About 35 nm from the destination airport the airplane experienced fuel exhaustion, prompting the pilot to request landing clearance at a nearby airport. During the turn from base to final, the pilot was performing the normal and emergency checklists and the airplane overshot the runway. The pilot then tried to land on a residential street and the airplane struck a street light and a power pole with its left wing tip, and then impacted a set of high voltage power lines and a second power pole. The airplane came to rest in an inverted position suspended by the empennage from the power lines, with the nose of the airplane resting on the top of a parked car. The pilot and his two passengers egressed the airplane. During an examination of the engine, a new propeller was installed and the engine was started and it ran normally. The pilot reported no anomalies with the airplane or engine prior to or during the flight. According to the Federal Aviation Regulations, for VFR flight at night, the pilot was required to have a 45 minute reserve fuel supply available.

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

The pilot's improper preflight and in-flight planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's loss of situational awareness while conducting the normal and emergency checklists during his turn from base to final approach, and the dark night condition.

Full narrative available

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