ERA12CA276
ERA12CA276

On the day prior to the accident flight, the pilot and the passenger flew the accident airplane 575 miles from their home airport to conduct business. During that flight the pilot reported that there was a discrepancy with the airplane's fuel quantity indicating gauges, and that they seemed to work correctly when he "pushed" on the edge of the instrument panel. After landing, the pilot had requested that the airplane be serviced with fuel, but when he returned the following day for the return flight, the fuel tanks had not been filled. Prior to departing on the accident flight, the pilot visually observed the fuel quantity in both fuel tanks and assumed that the quantity of fuel was sufficient for about 3.5 hours of flying. About 2.5 hours and 300 miles into the flight, with the airplane's fuel gauges displaying that 10 and 7 gallons remained in the left and right fuel tanks, respectively, the plot began searching for an airport where he could land and refuel the airplane. Shortly thereafter, the airplane's engine began losing power, so the pilot switched fuel tanks and diverted to nearest airport, which was about 14 statute miles away. About 4 miles from the airport, the engine lost all power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a field below. The airplane struck several trees during the landing roll, shearing the wings from the fuselage. The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airplane, with the exception being the accuracy of the airplane's fuel gauges. Examination of the wreckage at the accident scene revealed no evidence of any fuel, fuel spillage, fuel leakage, or odor of fuel.

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