The pilot departed with the intention of filling the Bellanca’s fuel tanks at a nearby airport before proceeding to his destination.
Shortly after takeoff, he adjusted the engine controls for cruise flight and then noticed a loss of engine power.
He initiated emergency procedures by switching from the right main fuel tank to the left main fuel tank, turning on the fuel boost pump, and maneuvering the plane for a forced landing.
During the landing, the airplane hit trees and then an open field near Westport, Oklahoma.
A post-accident examination of the engine and fuel system revealed that the right main fuel tank was about three-quarters full and the other three fuel tanks were nearly empty.
No fuel was present in the line from the fuel manifold to the metering unit or to the engine-driven fuel pump.
When tested, the boost pump delivered fuel from the right main fuel tank to the main fuel line.
Other than the absence of fuel, no anomalies were noted with the engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation and the pilot’s mismanagement of the available fuel.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA217
This June 2016 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.