NTSB Identification: ERA12CA036
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 17, 2011 in Atlanta, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 172F, registration: N5419R
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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, prior to departure, he calculated that he had 3.5 hours of usable fuel for the 2-hour-15-minute flight. He also indicated that the airplaneā€™s average fuel consumption was 8 gallons per hour. He performed a preflight inspection and noted that the fuel gauges indicated about three-quarters full, which he believed to be about 20 to 30 gallons of fuel. During climbout, the oil door on the engine cowling opened, and the pilot returned to the departure airport to close it. After landing, the pilot taxied to the ramp to secure the door and then departed again. The cross-country flight was uneventful, but, when the airplane was on a gradual descent about 6 miles from the destination airport, the engine lost total power. The pilot attempted to continue to the destination airport, but the airplane descended into trees and impacted the ground in a residential area, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel tanks were not breached; recovery personnel removed a total of 1.5 gallons of fuel from the airplane. An examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot believed that the airplane had a fuel capacity of 42 gallons. According to the owner's manual, the airplane had a fuel capacity of 39 gallons, of which 36 gallons were usable.

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

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

Full narrative available

Index for Oct2011 | Index of months