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N738HE accident description

Massachusetts map... Massachusetts list
Crash location 41.392777°N, 70.614167°W
Nearest city Vineyard Haven, MA
41.454279°N, 70.603639°W
4.3 miles away
Tail number N738HE
Accident date 28 May 2006
Aircraft type Cessna C-172N
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 28, 2006, at 1338 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N738HE, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The certificated commercial pilot received minor injuries and the three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the flight which originated at Old Town Municipal Airport (OLD), Old Town, Maine at 1130, and was destined for the Martha's Vineyard Airport (MVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, prior to takeoff from OLD, he requested that fuel be added to the airplane until it reached "two inches below the filler neck." He reported that he was concerned with the weight and balance of the airplane and therefore did not want to fill the tanks to full. The pilot departed OLD and flew along the coastline at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 feet, and a power setting of 2,500 rpm. He stated he leaned the mixture "two turns out" during the flight. The pilot also reported that he planned for a fuel burn of 8.1 gallons per hour.

While on final approach to MVY, approximately 1 mile from the airport, the engine "ran rough and sputtered." The pilot switched fuel tanks and unsuccessfully attempted to restart the engine. He then performed a forced landing, during which the airplane impacted trees.

According to statements from MVY air traffic controllers, the pilot declared an emergency while on final approach to runway 6 and reported he was "out of fuel."

A Massachusetts State Police Trooper observed no fuel in either fuel tank upon his arrival to the scene. Additionally, the pilot stated to him that he "ran out of fuel."

A review of the fuel log for OLD revealed the airplane was fueled with 14.2 gallons of fuel prior to departure. A statement from the fueler revealed the pilot did not want the airplane "topped off," and to "leave two inches" remaining in the tank.

According to the Cessna 172N Pilot Operating Handbook, the airplane's engine consumed approximately 8.4 gallons per hour at an altitude of 2,000 feet, and a power setting of 2,500 rpm.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's improper preflight planning and improper fuel consumption calculations, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent loss of engine power.

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