The pilot reported that during his preflight inspection, he perceived the Pitts S2’s fuel tank was about half full.
After the plane departed the airport in Fort Worth, Texas, the engine lost all power about 1,300 feet above ground level,
He turned back to the airport and selected a field for a forced landing, but realized the airplane was not able to glide to that field, so he selected a closer field. The airplane landed hard and nosed over, which damaged the vertical stabilizer and rudder. The pilot sustained minor injuries in the crash.
Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed the fuel tank contained about 1 gallon of fuel.
Following the accident, the pilot told investigators he misread the fuel gauge.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection of the fuel level, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.
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This April 2020 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.