Full gas tanks could stop many small plane crashes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Full gas tanks could stop many small plane crashes

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Aviation officials say there's a simple way to prevent hundreds of small plane crashes: fill up the gas tank.

The National Transportation Safety Board says running out of fuel has been a cause or factor in 238 small plane crashes in the past five years.

Those crashes have killed 29 people.

The NTSB says there were 8,016 crashes of civilian planes from 2004 through 2008. That category excludes commercial flights and military aviation.

Pilot error is blamed in about 75 percent of those crashes, which killed 2,640 people on board.

Tom Haueter is director of the NTSB's Office of Aviation Safety. He says while continuing to fly into bad weather is a common error, running out of gas is also "way at the top."

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