NTSB Identification: ERA11CA069
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 21, 2010 in Winter Haven, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 172G, registration: N3700L
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.

According to the pilot, he reviewed the weather prior to departing on the 416-nautical mile cross-country flight. The pilot fueled the airplane with 30.1 gallons of fuel the morning of the flight. About 3 miles from the destination airport, as the airplane was descending through 1,500 feet mean sea level, the engine sputtered and subsequently experienced a loss of power. During the forced landing, the airplane struck a tree, continued down an incline, and came to rest in a small pond, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, and the firewall. A postaccident examination by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane's left fuel tank contained 2.5 gallons of fuel, the right fuel tank contained 0.5 gallons of fuel; the fuel selector was in the "BOTH" position.

A review of the airplane's applicable Owner's Manual revealed that the unusable fuel in level flight was 0.5 gallons. At 67 percent power, and operating with a lean mixture, the airplane's fuel consumption rate was 7.6 gallons per hour. When asked how the accident could have been prevented, the pilot stated that he should have stopped for fuel en route.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight/inflight fuel planning resulting in fuel exhaustion and total loss of engine power.

Full narrative available

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