NTSB Identification: WPR09CA103
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 29, 2009 in Half Moon Bay, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2009
Aircraft: AERONCA 7BC, registration: N2805E
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.

While returning from an island sightseeing flight about 25 miles into the Pacific Ocean, the pilot of the rented vintage airplane heard what he thought was a change in engine sound. About five minutes later, while cruising at about 2,400 rpm, with oil pressure and oil temperature indicating normal, the engine suddenly stopped producing power. Although the wood propeller continued to windmill until the airplane was slowed to about 60 miles per hour, the pilot could not get the engine restarted and ultimately ditched in the ocean. The duration of the flight was 1.6 hours and the pilot reported that the 13-gallon fuel tank appeared full prior to engine start. A subsequent records review revealed that the airplane had been flown for .6 of an hour on the previous day, and had not subsequently been refueled. According to the certified flight instructor, who checked the pilot out in the airplane, the pilot was informed that due to its limited fuel quantity, when fully fueled, the airplane needed to be back at the airport two hours after departure. The total time logged since the last refueling was 2.2 hours, and the flight to the island included an outbound climb to about 5,000 feet.

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

A total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's failure to perform an accurate visual fuel quantity check prior to initiating the flight.

Full narrative available

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