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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN17LA261
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 05, 2017 in Wauseon, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/18/2019
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N3225T
Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 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.

The accident occurred during the third flight since the airplane had been filled with fuel. The student pilot and flight instructor stated that the engine lost power during the base leg to final approach to turn. The flight instructor took control of the airplane but had insufficient altitude to reach the runway, so he landed the airplane in a field just short of the runway where it contacted a ditch. The airplane had been flown about 3 hours 45 minutes since it was last filled with fuel. The expected fuel consumption for the engine was 11.7 gallons per hour (gph) at 75% power and 10.14 gph at 65% power, which resulted in an endurance of about 3 hours 30 minutes or 4 hours 10 minutes, respectively. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed 12 ounces of fuel remained in the fuel system, and there was no evidence of fuel leakage around the airplane. Given the fuel burn calculations and the evidence, it is likely that the flight instructor did not ensure that sufficient fuel was on board for the flight, which led to fuel exhaustion and the subsequent total loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The flight instructor’s inadequate preflight fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.