The pilot reported that, while en route for the return flight home, the Cessna 182’s engine lost power. He maneuvered the airplane to an airport near St. Ignatius, Montana, for an emergency landing.
The airplane landed short of the runway, hit a fence, and came to rest in an irrigation ditch. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. The pilot was seriously injured in the crash.
The pilot stated that he relied on the fuel flow monitor gauge to determine fuel level and that the gauge was indicating that he had 15 gallons of fuel remaining at the time of the loss of engine power.
He further reported that the gauge apparently was not properly reset for the fuel level after coming out of recent maintenance or during his first flight following that maintenance and that the actual fuel quantity was less than expected for the accident flight.
He stated that there was a 15-gallon discrepancy and that the loss of engine power was due to fuel exhaustion.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s improper preflight fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.
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This October 2021 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.