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NTSB Final Report: Progressive Aerodyne Inc Searey LSA

Information Indicates The Flight Crew Failed To Assure There Was An Adequate Fuel Supply

Location: Detroit, Michigan Accident Number: CEN23LA214
Date & Time: May 31, 2023, 20:30 Local Registration: N316SR
Aircraft: Progressive Aerodyne Inc Searey LSA Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis: The airplane was returning to the departure airport after a local training flight when the engine lost all power. Restart attempts were not successful. The pilot reported that he glanced at the fuel gauge and it indicated ¼ full. During the forced landing the airplane contacted trees, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing.

Examination of the airplane after the accident revealed that only a trace amount of fuel was visible in the semi-transparent plastic fuel tank; the tank did not appear to be breached. After the airplane was removed from the accident site and leveled on a trailer used for recovery, the fuel gauge read empty. A subsequent engine run was performed where fuel was added to the tank and the engine started. The engine was operated from idle to full throttle and no anomalies were detected during the engine run.

Based on the pilot’s report, the flight duration was about 2.5 hours; however, recorded flight track data indicated the flight actually lasted 3 hours. Available information indicates the flight crew failed to assure there was an adequate fuel supply for the flight, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a complete loss of engine power. 

Probable Cause and Findings: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be -- A loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion that resulted from the pilots’ inadequate preflight planning.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov 


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