Fuel exhaustion leads to forced landing in a marsh

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The pilot reported that, two days before the accident, the multiengine airplane’s fuel tanks were filled (150 gallons).

During the taxi to the runway, the Cessna T337’s right main tire blew.

The right side of the plane was placed on a dolly to support the gear so that the airplane could be towed. According to the pilot, due to the airplane’s fuel system design, when one side of the airplane was raised, all the fuel could be transferred to the opposite tank, which then forced the fuel to be released out of the air vent line.

On the day of the accident, the pilot completed his preflight inspection and visually confirmed the fuel quantity by checking both fuel gauges, which were “green.” However, he did not verify the fuel onboard by checking the tanks.

About three hours into the flight, the rear engine lost power. Before he attempted to restart the rear engine and after he verified the correct engine to feather, the front engine also lost power.

When he realized the airplane would be unable to reach the nearest airport, he landed it in a grass marsh near Homosassa, Florida, with the landing gear retracted.

During the landing, the wing hit grass and then veered right about 90°, which caused the left wing to dip and hit terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left aileron and empennage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

During his preflight inspection, the pilot should have verified the fuel quantity in the fuel tanks to ensure there was sufficient fuel onboard for the flight, and his failure to do so led to fuel exhaustion and the subsequent total loss of power in both engines.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the subsequent total loss of power in both engines.

NTSB Identification: GAA19CA070

This November 2018 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.

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