Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Fuel Exhaustion: North American T-28B, N28CU; accident occurred June 20, 2019 near Hollister Municipal Airport (KCVH), San Benito County, California

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Jose, California

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hollister, CA
Accident Number: GAA19CA426
Date & Time: 06/20/2019, 1200 PDT
Registration: N28CU
Aircraft: North American T28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot reported that, after takeoff, about 500 ft above the ground he retracted the landing gear and shortly thereafter, the engine sputtered and lost power. He adjusted the fuel mixture, but it did not have any effect. He attempted to return to the airport but noticed he would not make the runway and decided to land in a dirt field near the airport with the landing gear retracted. He recalled having refueled the airplane about a week prior.

The pilot further reported that as a safety recommendation to "Always top off fuel."

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the airplane reported that, upon sumping the center tank and both wing tanks, he was only able to obtain about a cup or two of fuel out of the system. He further checked the fuel gauge; there was only one gauge for the fuel with a single switch which has left, right, and center positions. In the left position, it showed empty, in the center position, which showed total fuel, it read 900 lbs. and on the right position, it also showed 900 lbs.

He further added that the mechanic that assisted with the recovery, said there was no fuel leaks and there were no signs of fuel on the ground. He also stated that they did not remove any fuel from the aircraft.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/09/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/14/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1653 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1000 hours (Total, this make and model), 1610 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North American
Registration: N28CU
Model/Series: T28 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 200302
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/10/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 14000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 15673.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Wright
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: R-1820-86B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 1425 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: KCVH, 237 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1900 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 321°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1400 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 250°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hollister, CA (CVH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Hollister, CA (CVH)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1200 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Hollister Muni (CVH)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 230 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6350 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 36.893333, -121.410278 (est)

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