Friday, June 21, 2019

Fuel Exhaustion: Cessna 172H, N1401F, accident occurred July 05, 2018 at King and Queen County, Virginia

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: King and Queen, VA
Accident Number: GAA18CA431
Date & Time: 07/05/2018, 1615 EST
Registration: N1401F
Aircraft: CESSNA 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, about 3 hours en route, he realized that the airplane's fuel level was very low. He started to look for nearby airports to land, but the engine rpm dropped, and he realized the airplane was going to run out of fuel before making it to an alternate airport. He decided to land in a nearby field, but on final, the engine experienced a total power loss. Subsequently, during the off-airport landing, the airplane's nosewheel touched down first and broke off. The airplane then "teetered," and both wings struck the ground before the airplane came to rest.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The pilot reported that he departed with about 40 gallons of fuel. He added that he must have burned off more fuel during taxi and takeoff than he realized and, that if he had stopped for fuel earlier in the flight, the accident would not have happened.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

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


Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues
Fuel planning - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Fuel exhaustion (Defining event)
Loss of engine power (total)
Off-field or emergency landing

Part(s) separation from AC 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:No 
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/22/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/17/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 160 hours (Total, all aircraft), 145 hours (Total, this make and model), 98 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N1401F
Model/Series: 172 H
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17254896
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/10/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3763 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-300-D
Registered Owner: Samoht LLC
Rated Power: 145 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KXSA, 135 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2016 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 346°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3700 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4700 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 14 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Morehead, KY (SYM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Melfa, VA (MFV)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1315 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 37.720000, -76.840833 (est)

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