Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary CEN21LA419

Marshalltown, IA, USA

Aircraft #1


Thatcher CX4


The pilot stated that he visually inspected the airplane fuel quantity before the flight and estimated there was 6 gallons of fuel. He said there was enough fuel for the planned flight with a fuel consumption rate of 3.5 gallons/hour. After he flew to an airport to perform a touch-and-go landing, in addition to local area flying, he began a return flight to the departure airport. He then realized that the airplane fuel quantity gauge indicated a fuel consumption that was greater than he had planned. About 3 miles from the departure/destination airport, the fuel gauge indicated near empty, and the engine ceased operation. He said he restarted the engine, which operated for about 5 seconds and then quit again. The pilot performed a forced landing on a corn field, during which the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage that included damage to the fuselage, empennage, and both wings. The pilot said the loss of engine power was due to his overestimation of fuel quantity during his preflight of the airplane and the inaccuracy of the fuel gauge. The pilot said there was no mechanical malfunction or failure of the airplane that would have precluded normal operations.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot’s failure to properly determine the correct fuel quantity during preflight inspection that resulted in a loss of engine power during approach due to fuel exhaustion.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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