Cherokee runs out of gas

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 1 Minor. Location: Guthrie, Okla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The airplane was equipped with two 25-gallon fuel tanks, which gave it a total of 50 gallons total of which 48 gallons were useable. The airplane was fueled to capacity, then flew for three hours and 15 minutes to the destination.

There were no services at the destination airport and the plane was not refueled. Two days later, it flew for an additional three hours.

During that flight, a passenger heard the pilot say that they were low on fuel. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost power. During the forced landing the airplane collided with power lines and a storage shed in a residential area.

At the time of the accident the airplane had been aloft for about six hours, 13 minutes. Depending on the power setting, the airplane would have burned between 38 and 52 gallons for the two flights.

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

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA021

This October 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.



  1. vaughn S. Price says

    If you insist on running on fumes, at least have enough skill to have a landing site picked at all times so when you hit dry you are not caught by surprise and can make a safe powerless landing

  2. Bluestar says

    What, no backup solar energy to cut in when that fuel gauge says LOW ? Sorry for the sarcasm, but you can’t fix stupid.

    • says

      “Jed said HE checked the fuel – but I asked Herman to check it – well, Earl said he aked his grandson, little Myron to check it – (he couldn’t see the tank level) – SO, he asked is older sister Betty Sue – but she was to “busy” flirting with the line dude, Clyde”…………………………………… Forrest Gump were are you?

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