The Cessna 172 pilot reported that, about three miles from the destination airport, the engine experienced a loss of power.
During the forced landing to a field near Fresno, California, the 172 hit an unseen set of power lines before touching down in the field.
Both the left wing and the empennage were substantially damaged.
The pilot reported that, when the engine lost power, the left wing fuel gauge was indicating that the tank was empty and the right wing fuel gauge was indicating that the tank was 1/4 to 1/2 full of fuel.
Post-accident examination of the airframe revealed that the fuel system was not compromised, and no evidence of fuel was found in the airplane’s fuel system.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s improper fuel planning, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.
NTSB Identification: WPR15LA077
This January 2015 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.