NTSB Identification: ERA11LA503
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 24, 2011 in Cordele, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/15/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 120, registration: N3101N
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot was maneuvering and practicing takeoffs and landings in the vicinity of his home airport when the airplane impacted trees and terrain about 1/2-mile from the departure end of one of the runways. An examination of the wreckage revealed signatures consistent with the engine not developing power at impact, and no evidence of any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures was found. Additionally, no evidence of fuel or fuel spillage was observed at the accident scene or within any of the disassembled airframe or engine components. The pilot had most recently fueled the airplane 2 days before the accident flight, and, according to his personal flight logs, he had flown the airplane for 2.3 hours before departing on the accident flight. With a full fuel load, the airplane had an estimated fuel endurance in cruise flight of between 3.6 and 7.8 hours, depending on engine power setting. The exact duration of the accident flight could not be determined; however, based on witness statements, it was likely longer than 0.5 hours.

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

The pilot's inadequate fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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