Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cessna 152, Christiansen Aviation Inc., N6135M: Accident occurred January 17, 2016 near Madison Municipal Airport (52A), Morgan County, Georgia

The City of Madison and Morgan County held a ceremony to honor McArthur Reid for his quick actions after witnessing a plane crash in downtown Madison this past January. 

“He was first on the scene. He didn’t know the condition of the plane, but he knew the condition of those men and their lives,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman.

On January 17, 2016 at approximately 8 p.m. McArthur Reid, a downtown Madison resident went outside to check his mail. At the same time a Cessna 152 crashed in the intersection of East Washington and Vine Streets, badly injuring both the pilot and his one passenger.

Without hesitation, Reid jumped into action and pulled the two men from the wreckage.

“I was afraid there could have been a fuel leak and the whole thing would blow,” said Reid.

It is believed that the pilot skillfully navigated the aircraft using streetlights as markers in order to safely land the plane.

The two men survived and were taken to Athens Regional Medical Center for treatment.

“When you come across a tragedy, will you run or will you help?” asked Madison Chief of Police Bill Ashburn after he presented Reid with an award for his bravery.

“He saw something once in a lifetime and he took it upon himself to save lives.”

Reid was also presented with the Good Samaritan Medal from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

“It is a pleasure to present you with the Good Samaritan award in honor of your actions,” said Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley.

Reid’s family rallied around him in support of his bravery.

The Morgan County Ministers Union also attended the ceremony and thanked Reid for being an extraordinary citizen.

The Ministers Union gifted Reid and his family $100 in recognition of his willingness to help others.

“I just didn’t want anyone to get hurt,” said Reid.



NTSB Identification: ERA16LA091 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 17, 2016 in Madison, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/04/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 152, registration: N6135M
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial pilot reported that he visually checked the fuel tanks before conducting the personal flight and verified that they were full with a total of 26 gallons (24.5 usable) before the personal flight departed; fuel receipts corroborated that the airplane was refueled before the flight. The pilot stated that, shortly after he descended the airplane from 5,500 ft mean sea level (msl) and then leveled off at 3,500 ft msl, about 3.5 hours into the flight, the engine began running roughly and then lost power. The pilot’s attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. The pilot subsequently executed a forced landing to a road, and the airplane collided with a pole. 

The Pilot’s Operating Handbook stated that the airplane had about 3.1 hours of fuel endurance at cruise power. Responders to the accident site reported that there was no fuel in the fuel tanks. Further, after the accident, the pilot stated that the engine likely “ran out of gas.” Therefore, the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot’s improper fuel planning.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s improper fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

On January 17, 2016, at 1945 eastern standard time, a Cessna 152, N6135M, experienced a total loss of engine power and was unable to make the Madison Municipal Airport (52A), Madison, Georgia. The pilot subsequently made a forced landing to a road and struck a telephone pole with the left wing. The commercial pilot and the passenger were both seriously injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall, left wing, and fuselage. The airplane was registered to a private company and operated by Florida Flyers Flight Academy under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual flight rules conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from the Northeast Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), St. Augustine, Florida, about 1600, and was destined for the Gwinnett County - Briscoe Field Airport (LZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia. 

The pilot stated that he rented an airplane from his employer for the purpose of flying to his home in Georgia. As part of his pre-flight planning, he obtained the weather along the route of flight, which included a 20 knot headwind, and prepared a flight plan using Foreflight. The pilot said he visually checked each fuel tank before the flight and verified they were topped off for a total of 26 gallons (24.5 usable). He said he had sufficient fuel onboard for the 275.6 nautical mile flight and did not plan to stop for fuel. 

The pilot and his passenger departed St. Augustine at 1600 and climbed to an altitude of 5,500 ft. He said the flight was normal and when he was about 50 miles from Lawrenceville, he descended to 3,500 ft. Once level at the new altitude, and about 3.5 hours into the flight, the pilot noticed that the engine began to run rough. He turned on the carburetor heat, which seemed to restore power. The pilot contacted air traffic control and began a diversion to Madison. While en route to Madison, the engine ran rough again and lost power. The pilot trimmed the airplane for best glide speed and made several attempts to re-start the engine, but to no avail. The pilot realized he was not going to make the airport in Madison and made a forced landing to a road. The pilot did not recall what occurred after he landed. He said that he and his passenger were wearing there seatbelt and shoulder harnesses, but still sustained serious facial injuries. 

The pilot said that before takeoff he noted that the fuel gauges both indicated full. The last time he saw the fuel gauge was about an hour into the flight, when the right fuel gauge was "on empty" and the left fuel gauge indicated it was just below the "full" mark. The pilot said he had flown this airplane numerous times and this was a normal indication for the airplane. When asked what he thought caused the engine to lose power, he said, "It was most likely fuel starvation." When asked if he ran out of gas, he replied, "yes."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident and observed that both of the airplane's fuel tanks were empty. According to an employee of the company that recovered the airplane, he stated that both wing tanks were intact and completely empty of any fuel. He also stated the firewall was wrinkled, the nose gear was bent aft, the right main landing gear had separated, and the left wing exhibited leading edge impact damage. There was no damage to the right wing.

A representative of Florida Flyers stated the airplane was fueled on the morning of the accident with 17.1 gallons of 100LL and was not flown until the accident flight. 

The Cessna 152 Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) states that with this fuel tank configuration (26 total gallons / 24.5 gallons usable fuel) the airplane has about 3.1 hours of fuel endurance at cruise power. 

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single and multi-engine land airplane, and instrument airplane. He was also a certified flight instructor for airplane single-engine land and held a type rating for a SA-227 airplane. His last FAA first-class medical was issued on March 11, 2015, with a restriction to wear corrective lenses.

Weather at LZU, about 33 miles northwest of the accident site, at 1945, was reported as calm wind, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 7 degrees C, dewpoint 0 degrees C, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.85 inches of Hg.

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