The pilot reported that, while conducting the preflight, he mistook the voltmeter for the fuel gauge on the Evektor Aerotechnik SPORTSTAR.
The first leg of his flight was uneventful, however, on the return flight, the engine started to sputter, then experienced a total loss of power.
He navigated toward a nearby airport. He noted that, as he approached the airport, it became apparent he would not make it to the airport.
He then elected to land on a field near the south end of the airport in Tracy, California. During landing the left wing hit a tree.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and horizontal stabilizer.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s improper fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion and a subsequent emergency landing and collision with a tree.
This July 2019 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.