NTSB Identification: CEN09LA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Probable Cause Approval Date:
MCGRATH ROBERT F SONEX, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot departed his home airstrip with 3 to 4 gallons of fuel on board to fly to a nearby airport for fuel. The winds at the time of departure were calm. The pilot landed at a nearby airport, but did not purchase fuel. He then took off to fly back to his home airstrip. The accident occurred as the pilot was approaching his home airstrip land. According to witnesses, the engine was not producing power when the airplane banked to the right and descended nose first, consistent with an aerodynamic stall into a wooded area just northwest of the runway. Post accident inspection of the airplane revealed that less than 5 ounces of fuel was present in the fuel tank. No fuel was present in the fuel lines or gascolator, nor was there an odor of fuel at the accident site. According to a global positioning system used by the pilot, the flight was approximately 40 minutes long. The airplane consumes about 4 gallons of fuel per hour. Winds reported 10 miles from the accident site were from 240 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 26 knots.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this
The pilot's failure to assure an adequate fuel level which resulted in fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident were the gusty winds and the pilot's loss of aircraft control during the forced landing.