This September 2010 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: Piper Vagabond. Injuries: None. Location: Edwardsburg, Mich. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that the fuel gauge indicated that the fuel tanks were about half full during his preflight inspection. He conducted a 45-minute flight and landed.
During takeoff on a second flight, the engine lost power when the airplane was 150 feet above ground. The pilot tried to turn back to the runway but stalled during the turn, then crashed.
The post-accident examination revealed that there was no fuel in the tanks.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power during takeoff due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot’s improper fuel planning.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: CEN10CA548