Sunday, January 14, 2018

Van's RV-7A, N712RL, CSM Aviation LLC: Accident occurred September 29, 2017 in Itasca, Hill County, Texas

"I'm thankful to God to be alive to write this Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report." -Steve Thompson

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

CSM Aviation LLC:

Location: Itasca, TX
Accident Number: CEN17CA371
Date & Time: 09/29/2017, 1230 CDT
Registration: N712RL
Aircraft: VANS RV7
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during his preflight inspection, he perceived that both fuel tanks were full. Based on previous flights, full fuel tanks allowed for about 5 hours of flight endurance. About 4 hours after departure, the pilot noticed a low fuel quantity on the cockpit gauges but continued the flight toward the planned destination airport. Several minutes later, the engine lost power, and the pilot performed a forced landing to a field. The airplane impacted a power line and nosed over, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel tanks contained no usable fuel. Following the accident, the pilot stated he should have landed earlier to refuel. He also discovered that a co-owner had not filled the fuel tanks after the previous flight, as he had expected. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and improper in-flight decision-making, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.


Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues
Fuel planning - Pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Wire - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Fuel exhaustion (Defining event)
Loss of engine power (total)

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/31/2017
Occupational Pilot:  No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:  05/31/2016
Flight Time:  1194 hours (Total, all aircraft), 109 hours (Total, this make and model), 1091 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 72 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: VANS
Registration: N712RL
Model/Series: RV7 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 71000
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/08/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1850 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 134 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 997 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT:  C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360A1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KINJ, 685 ft msl
Observation Time: 1235 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 132°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 18°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 360°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Showers - Rain
Departure Point: LONGMONT, CO (LMO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:  HILLSBORO, TX (INJ)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 0715 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 32.116944, -97.139722

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