NTSB Identification: ERA13LA094
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 19, 2012 in Sarasota, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2013
Aircraft: WRAGG GEORGE SKYBOLT, registration: N328GW
Injuries: 1 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.

About 1 month before the accident flight, the pilot added about 17 gallons of fuel to the airplane's bottom fuel tank. About 25 minutes into the accident flight, the engine experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot ditched the airplane in the Gulf of Mexico, and it sank. A postaccident examination of the wreckage after recovery revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The examination also revealed that the fuel tank contained 4 gallons of seawater and no fuel and that the fuel system had only trace amounts of fuel at the gascolator. According to the pilot and local authorities, no evidence of fuel leakage was found in the water. According to fuel records and the pilot's statement, it is likely that the airplane had a total of about 23 gallons of fuel on board at the last refueling; however, 6 gallons of the fuel were in the top tank and used during taxi and run-up operations. Therefore, considering the airplane's lowest fuel consumption rate of about 7.2 gallons per hour, the airplane would have been able to operate for 3.2 total hours. At the time of the accident, it had flown a total of 3.3 flight hours. Therefore, the pilot began the flight with an insufficient amount of fuel and did not monitor its quantity during the flight.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and failure to monitor the fuel quantity during flight, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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