**This report was modified on 2/24/2011; please see the public docket on this accident for more information** Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
After landing for fuel, the pilot noted that "the fuel gauge read slightly above 1/2 full." The airplane's fuel capacity is 20 gallons. He asked that 8 gallons of fuel be added; however, according to the fixed base operator’s records the airplane was serviced with only 6 gallons. En route to his destination, the pilot received flight following service from air traffic control (ATC). While enroute, the pilot told controllers that he was concerned about his fuel and inquired as to the fuel services nearby. He asked for and received vectors to a nearby airport. Unable to find the airport, the pilot tried unsuccessfully to contact ATC several times. The pilot then decided to make an off-airport landing. Another aircraft advised controllers that the pilot was making an emergency landing "due to fuel exhaustion." The pilot said that the engine lost power prior to landing. During the landing on rough terrain, the landing gear was sheared off from the composite fuselage. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector questioned the pilot as to why he didn’t land for fuel at Raton, New Mexico. His reply was that he had never landed at that airport before and was unfamiliar with it. Asked if he had ever landed at Trinidad, the pilot said no. FAA inspectors who examined the airplane reported that the fuel quantity can either be checked with the fuel gauge or by examining the clear plastic tubing that shows the fuel level. An examination of the fuel gauge found it to be operating normally. No other anomalies were found; however, the engine manufacturer issued a mandatory Service Bulletin (SB) calling for replacement of the airplane's fuel pump. The SB notes that in limited cases a deviation in fuel supply can occur causing engine malfuntion or massive fuel leakage.