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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA18CA419
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 30, 2018 in Panama City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/18/2019
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N89887
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, 15 minutes into a cross-country flight, the airplane’s engine lost rpm. He added power, and the engine regained rpm briefly before losing all power. The pilot selected a dirt road for an emergency landing, during which the nose landing gear touched down on a soft surface, and the airplane nosed over.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left and right wings and the front windshield.
The pilot reported that the airplane had 4.5 gallons of fuel on board at the last takeoff. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that, during postaccident examination of the airplane, the fuel tanks were found empty. The gascolator had residual fuel, and about 1 gallon of fuel was removed from the fuselage fuel drain. He added that, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, the airplane should have had 1.5 gallons of unusable fuel. He turned on the airplane’s master power switch to view the fuel quantity gauge indications, and the left-wing tank gauge indicated between empty and a quarter full with no fuel in the tank, and the right-wing fuel tank gauge indicated empty.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s improper preflight fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power.