Poor fuel management by Piper pilot

Aircraft: Piper Super Cub. Injuries: 2 Minor. Location: Sherman, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot told investigators that he didn’t visually check the fuel level prior to departure, but noted that the cockpit fuel gauges indicated the left tank was 3/4-full and the right fuel tank was 1/4-full.

He took off with the fuel selector on the left tank and flew for an hour before he picked up a friend and continued the flight. They flew to another airport, landed, then taxied back to the runway for another takeoff.

Shortly after takeoff the engine began to sputter and then stopped producing power. The pilot made a forced landing to a field.

Examination of the airplane revealed the left fuel tank was empty and the right tank had only residual fuel inside.

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

NTSB Identification: CEN11CA548

This August 2011 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.

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