Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cessna 182D Skylane, N9980T, registered to Sinclair Aviation LLC and operated by the pilot: Accident occurred June 29, 2015 near A.J. Eisenberg Airport (KOKH), Oak Harbor, Island County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Renton, Washington
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Location: Oak Harbor, WA
Accident Number: WPR15LA201
Date & Time: 06/29/2015, 2013 PDT
Registration: N9980T
Aircraft: CESSNA 182D
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Skydiving


The commercial pilot reported that, during a skydiving flight, the engine experienced a total loss of power during final approach for landing. The pilot initiated a forced landing to a field, and during the landing sequence, the airplane impacted a tree.

No fuel was observed in the fuel tanks or fuel lines during recovery of the wreckage. Postaccident examination revealed no mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. The company fuel log indicated that about 18.2 gallons of useable fuel were onboard the accident airplane before the first flight of the day; the accident occurred during the third flight. Although the amount of fuel onboard would have likely been adequate for three of the operator's 20-minute average flights, several flight delays occurred, and the airplane was flown a total of 2.1 hours between the three flights. Given the airplane's average fuel consumption, the fuel consumed during the three flights closely corresponded to the fuel available at the beginning of the day. Therefore, it is likely that the loss of engine power was the result of fuel exhaustion. 

Probable Cause and Findings

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


Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues
Fuel planning - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tree(s) - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

On June 29, 2015, about 2013 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182D, N9980T, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during an approach for landing at the AJ Eisenberg Airport (OKH) Oak Harbor, Washington. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Sinclair Aviation LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the skydiving flight. The local flight departed OKH about 1935.

The pilot reported that the engine lost power during the final turn to the runway. Not being able to make the runway, he initiated a forced landing to a field, just south of the airport. During the landing sequence, the airplane struck a tree. The first responder's, on-scene commander, did not observe any fuel leaking from the airplane. Further, another witness, observed only a small amount of fuel dripping from the airplane at the accident site.

Postaccident examination of the airplane at the accident site, by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the following morning, revealed that substantial damage was sustained to the wings and fuselage. Further, there was no fuel leaking from the airplane or remaining in the tanks. The ground below the accident site appeared to be dry, and no fuel stains were visible. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination. According to the airplane's owner, during the recovery, no fuel was observed in the fuel tanks or lines.

Further examination of the airframe and engine by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigator-in-charge, and a representative from Textron Aviation, and Continental Motors, revealed no anomalies with the airframe or engine that would preclude normal operation. Only a small amount of fuel was observed in the carburetor bowl.

A company fuel log indicated that the accident airplane had about 12.6 gallons of useable fuel on board at the start of the day. According to the owner, and the company fuel log, the airplane was refueled on the day of the accident, for an amount of 5.6 gallons, and his review of receipts confirmed this. Therefore, the total amount of fuel on the airplane on the first flight was estimated to be about 18.2 gallons. According to the owner, the average jump flight was usually about 20 minutes in duration, but on the accident day, air traffic control delays were encountered that extended the flights. According to the company fuel log, the accident occurred on the third flight of the day, after the airplane was flown for about 2.1 flight hours.

According to the owner, the average fuel burn of the accident airplane was about 14 gallons an hour. The airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) fuel burn charts did not replicate the jump profile flown, where the airplane climbs and then descends back to the airfield. However, most of the cruise flight profiles fuel burn rates were lower. The airplane's POH states that 10 gallons of fuel were unusable during all flight conditions. However, in level flight conditions, only 1.5 gallons per tank was unusable. Potentially, 7 additional gallons would have been available, if the airplane was flown in level flight conditions. The fuel consumption for 2.1 flight hours flown the day of the accident was calculated using the company burn rate average and then compared to the accident airplane's total fuel quantity, which included the additional 7 gallons of fuel available in level flight conditions. The airplane's fuel burn rate closely corresponded to the consumption of all the remaining fuel. 

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final
Fuel exhaustion (Defining event)


Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/09/2014
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/28/2015
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1020 hours (Total, all aircraft), 57 hours (Total, this make and model), 889 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N9980T
Model/Series: 182D D
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18253080
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/23/2015, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2348 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C91  installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-470-L
Registered Owner: Sinclair Aviation Inc.
Rated Power: 230 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Jet City Skydiving Center
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: NUW, 47 ft msl
Observation Time: 1956 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 7°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 7000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 10°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 250°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: OAK HARBOR, WA (OKH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: OAK HARBOR, WA (OKH)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1935 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Unknown
Airport Elevation: 193 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:  
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 48.250000, -122.655278 (est)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Almost 3 years to do a report that Captain Obvious could have done in 1 hour.