Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cessna 210J Centurion, N3320S: Accident occurred January 14, 2015 near Dodge City Regional Airport (KDDC), Ford County, Kansas

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N3320S



NTSB Identification: CEN15LA107
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 14, 2015 in Dodge City, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/12/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 210J, registration: N3320S
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor.

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 private pilot reported that he departed on a 1-hour cross-country flight with the fuel tank gauges showing about 1/4 tank each. The left fuel tank was selected at takeoff. After 20 minutes of flight, the pilot switched to the right fuel tank and noticed that the right fuel tank gauge dropped unusually fast to near empty. The pilot then selected the left fuel tank and entered a left downwind to his destination airport. Upon turning onto the base leg, the engine lost power. The pilot’s attempts to restart the engine were not successful. The pilot conducted a forced landing, and the airplane impacted the ground about 1 mile from the destination airport. 

Examination of the airplane wreckage showed the fuel selector valve was positioned to the left wing tank. The three-bladed propeller blades were bent upward from impact but did not show curling or twisting, indicating that the engine was not producing power at impact. The airframe gascolator had just enough fuel to fill the bowl, and no fuel came out of the fuel feeder line. Neither wing tank contained any fuel. A certificated aircraft mechanic from a nearby airport who had arrived within 15 minutes of the accident reported that he did not smell aviation gasoline in the air or on the ground.

The pilot reported that more accurate fuel management and awareness would have prevented the accident. He stated that the flight hours in his pilot log indicated that he had enough fuel for the flight after his most recent top-off refueling but that he likely had flown the airplane 20 to 30 minutes more than his pilot logs indicated. He stated that fuel tanks should be visually inspected before flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of engine power on approach due to fuel exhaustion, which resulted from the pilot's improper preflight fuel planning and inspection.

On January 14, 2014, about 0915 central daylight time, a Cessna 210J airplane, N3320S, registered to the pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing after a loss of engine power about 1 mile from the Dodge City Airport (DDC), Dodge City, Kansas. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and two passengers sustained minor injuries. The cross country flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated at 0820 from Wellington Municipal Airport (EGT), Wellington, Kansas, and was enroute to DDC.

According to the pilot, he had departed EGT with both fuel tank gauges showing about 1/4 fuel remaining each tank. The left fuel tank was selected at takeoff from EGT. At a cruising altitude of 4.500 feet (after about 20 minutes of flight), the pilot switched to the right fuel tank. The pilot noticed that the right fuel tank gauge dropped unusually fast and was near empty about 8-10 miles from DDC. The pilot then selected the left fuel tank and entered a left downwind for runway 32 at DDC. As the pilot turned onto base leg, the engine lost power and did not restart. The pilot tuned on the fuel boost pump and tried again to restart the engine with no success. The pilot then switched back to the right tank and made another restart attempt with no success. The airplane had descended to about 250 feet AGL and the pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing.

The airplane impacted the ground just short of a county road, about 1 mile from the airport. A witness saw the airplane losing altitude while in a turn, and then impact the ground.

According to on scene observations by an FAA inspector, the engine was found mostly detached from the airframe and was lying on the ground in front of the airplane. Both main landing gear were still attached and the nose gear was extended. The landing gear lever was down and the flaps were set at 20 degrees. The fuel selector valve was found selected to the left wing tank. The three bladed propeller blades were bent upward from impact but did not show curling or twisting. There were no propeller strike marks on the ground. 

The left wing was found broken open near the wing roots. The airframe gascolator had enough fuel to fill the bowl. No fuel came out of the disconnected fuel feeder line. At post-crash disassembly, neither wing contained any fuel. A certificated aircraft mechanic from nearby Dodge City Airport said that he arrived within 15 minutes of the accident. He did not discern any odor of aviation gasoline in the air or on the ground.

The pilot offered a safety recommendation included in his submitted NTSB Form 6120. He stated that more accurate fuel management and awareness would have prevented the accident. He stated that the flight hours in his pilot log indicated that he had enough fuel for the flight from EGT to DDC, after his most recent top-off refueling. He felt that he most likely had flown the airplane 20-30 minutes more than his pilot logs indicated. He stated that fuel tanks should visually inspected prior to flight.

No comments: