This August 2009 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 J5A Cub. Injuries: None. Location: Holland, Mass. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot didn’t check the fuel before the flight. Shortly after departing on his second flight of the day, the Cub suffered a complete loss of engine power. During the subsequent forced landing, the left main landing gear caught tall grass and ground-looped the airplane, which resulted in substantial damage to the left landing gear, left wing strut, and left lower fuselage.
A post-accident examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed no odor of fuel, no fuel spillage, and five ounces of fuel in the airplane.
Probable cause: A loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. A factor in the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection.
For more information: NTSB.gov NTSB Identification: ERA09CA489