NTSB Identification: WPR13LA011
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 15, 2012 in Parker, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/13/2014
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR20, registration: N499SF
Injuries: 2 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.

Before the first flight of the day, the pilot visually checked the airplaneā€™s fuel quantity through the fuel tank filler necks, observing what he believed to be full tanks. He subsequently checked the fuel gauges, which indicated that both wing tanks were less than half full. Surmising that the gauges were faulty, the pilot departed on a short flight to a local airport to pick up a passenger. After picking up the passenger, they departed for a cross-country flight. He did not refuel the airplane before that departure, and after travelling for about 90 minutes the engine lost total power. The pilot made a forced landing in mountainous terrain.

Subsequent examination of the airframe revealed that both fuel tanks were empty, and neither the engine nor airframe exhibited indications of a fuel leak. Examination of recorded data recovered from the airplane's flight displays revealed that its fuel consumption was appropriate for the flight profile. The data further revealed that the airplane was approaching an airport as one of the tanks ran out of fuel. The engine lost power; however, rather than landing, the pilot continued the flight after switching to the other fuel tank. The other tank ran out of fuel a short time later, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a rocky outcropping, where the airplane sustained substantial damage.

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

The pilot's failure to perform an adequate preflight inspection, which resulted in inadequate fuel for the flight and the subsequent fuel exhaustion and a total loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to land the airplane at the first indication of low fuel.

Full narrative available

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