Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary CEN20CA181

Colchester, IL, USA

Aircraft #1


Cessna 172


The private pilot reported that he checked the fuel tanks prior to takeoff. It was dark in the hangar where he used a wire to check the fuel level in the fuel tanks. He was not wearing his glasses and he thought he had "an inch or so" of fuel. The pilot thought that was enough fuel and departed on a cross country flight. During the flight, the engine "sputtered" and lost power. The pilot turned the airplane towards the destination airport but lost airspeed, so he lowered the airplane's nose and conducted a forced landing into the trees below. A postaccident examination revealed that the airplane sustained substantial empennage, fuselage, and wing damage. The fuel tanks were empty and there was no fuel odor anywhere at the accident scene. The pilot reported that there was no mechanical malfunction/failure of the airplane during the flight.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot's inadequate preflight of the fuel quantity which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation during cruise flight.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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