WPR09CA305
WPR09CA305

The pilot, who had flown into a backcountry airstrip with minimal fuel in order to reduce the airplane's takeoff weight when it came time to leave, departed that airstrip for a destination that was reporting overcast clouds. He made the decision to do so because he heard pilots had reported some openings in the overcast layer that might allow him to descend through the clouds as he neared his destination. When he got near the destination, he discovered that there was no way through the overcast, so he returned to the backcountry airstrip. The next day he decided to follow a group of pilots to the same planned destination, but by another route that he was not familiar with. When the other pilots started their engines, the accident pilot realized that he had not yet dipped his fuel tanks to measure fuel quantity, and that the ladder that he needed to perform that function was under camping gear in the airplane. Therefore, so as not to get separated from the pilots he was going to follow en route, he elected to not sump the tanks prior to departure. As he approached the destination airport, one fuel gage read empty, and the other read one-quarter, but its needle had stopped moving/bouncing, which the pilot thought was a, "…bad sign." Soon thereafter the engine lost all power, and although the pilot tried to stretch the glide to the destination airport, he ultimately had to make a forced landing in what appeared to be an open field. During the landing roll, the airplane impacted some cement barrier blocks and collided with a steel fence gate. The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions at the time of the accident. Post-accident inspection found no usable fuel remaining in the airplanes system.

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