Ignoring fuel tanks leads to crash

This July 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 182.
Location: Orland, Calif.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot said the fuel gauges showed half tanks when he took off. He flew 44 minutes, landed and picked up a passenger. The passenger noted that the fuel gauges were reading empty but the pilot said not to pay attention to the fuel gauges. The engine sputtered and lost power about 10 miles north of the airport at 1,200 feet while in a left turn. The pilot executed a forced landing into a soft and recently plowed crop field, and the airplane nosed over.

One gallon of fuel was drained from the airplane during the recovery. No airframe or engine mechanical failures or malfunctions were identified by the FAA inspector who examined the airplane wreckage.

Probable cause: The pilot’s poor fuel management.

For more information: NTSB.gov

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