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NTSB Final Report: Cessna 172C

After Flying For About 4 Hours, The Engine Lost Power And (Pilot) Executed A Forced Landing On A Road

Location: Wichita, Kansas Accident Number: CEN24LA019
Date & Time: October 20, 2023, 18:55 Local Registration: N1413Y
Aircraft: Cessna 172C Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis: The pilot reported that she filled the airplane with fuel before departure. After flying for about 4 hours, the engine lost power and she executed a forced landing on a road about 1.5 miles from the destination airport. During the landing roll, the airplane impacted two street signs and a power pole guy wire which resulted in substantial damage to the airplane’s left wing and fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies with the fuel system; the fuel tanks were empty, and there was no evidence of a fuel leak. About 8 ounces of fuel were recovered from the gascolator. 

The pilot noted that verification of total fuel onboard before each departure and more accurate usage of the airplane’s performance charts could have prevented the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be -- The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and fuel planning and improper in-flight decisionmaking, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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