NTSB Identification: WPR12CA172
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Palouse, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2012
Aircraft: ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL S-2R, registration: N4971X
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.

The pilot landed after completing an aerial application to a field, and planned to refuel the airplane while the application tank was reloaded. He said that among other distractions, he was having problems with his global positioning system, and began discussing it with another pilot. The pilot reported that after takeoff, he realized that he did not have the ground crew refuel the airplane. He said that the destination field was close, so he decided to continue rather than return and refuel the airplane. He indicated that the fuel gauges indicated 1/4 capacity at takeoff and were bouncing around 1/8 capacity after he completed two passes. The engine subsequently lost power due to fuel exhaustion, and the pilot landed in a flat field, which was wet and soft. During the landing roll, the airplane nosed over, substantially damaging the vertical stabilizer and rudder. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s distraction and subsequent failure to have the airplane refueled.

Full narrative available

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