NTSB Identification: ERA09LA208
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 21, 2009 in Columbia, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2010
Aircraft: CESSNA 150E, registration: N4057U
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot flew a cross-country flight, 2 hours in duration, making stops at 2 airports. He then added 10 gallons of fuel to the airplane and observed that the quantity of fuel in the tanks was 1 ½ inches from the top of the fuel tank. The pilot flew approximately one hour, dropped off a passenger, and then departed for the return flight to his home airport. He did not refuel, or look in the fuel tanks to confirm the fuel quantity before departure. The pilot reported he relied mostly on his fuel gauges, which indicated half-full and three-quarters full, to confirm that he had adequate fuel for the flight. After flying for about one hour, while on final approach to the home airport, the airplane's engine lost power and the pilot performed a forced landing. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the right fuel tank was empty and the left fuel tank contained only "a trace of fuel." Less than a pint of fuel was drained from the gascolator. No mechanical failures were identified by the Federal Aviation Administration, nor were any reported by the pilot. The pilot reported he conducted the flights with the mixture control in the full rich position. The Pilot's Operating Handbook for the aircraft instructs the pilot to lean the fuel mixture for better fuel economy while in cruise flight.

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

A loss of engine power in flight due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight and in-flight fuel planning.

Full narrative available

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