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 180A.
Location: Redding, Calif.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot, who was attempting to fly from Arlington, Wash., to Redding, Calif., stopped at an airport in Oregon about 100 miles from his final destination but did not refuel. before he took off again. While on a 2.5-mile final approach to the destination airport, the engine lost power. The pilot performed an emergency landing in a field. The airplane hit a berm during the landing roll.
At the time of the power loss the fuel selector was set to both. Investigators determined that the right fuel tank was empty and the left fuel tank had about six gallons of fuel. According to the airplane’s manual, five gallons of fuel is unusable per tank in non-level flight.
Probable cause: Fuel exhaustion due to the pilot’s inadequate in-flight planning and his failure to refuel while en route.
For more information: NTSB.gov