Friday, October 25, 2019

Fuel Related: Cessna 172D Skyhawk, N2492U; accident occurred July 07, 2017 in Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Cape Coral, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA234
Date & Time: 07/07/2017, 0950 EDT
Registration: N2492U
Aircraft: CESSNA 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel related
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 7, 2017, about 0950 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172D airplane, N2492U, lost engine power over Cape Coral, Florida, and was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Page Field Airport (FMY), Fort Myers, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, prior to the flight he performed a preflight inspection and sumped the fuel tanks several times. He said that he only observed a small amount of water drain from the tanks. He performed an engine run up and no anomalies were observed prior to takeoff. After takeoff while in cruise flight at an altitude of 1,200 ft above the ground (agl), the pilot observed a loss of engine power. He immediately changed his course to return to the departure airport and applied carburetor heat to regain power. The engine continued to run rough at a decreased power setting, but the airplane maintained an altitude of 800 ft agl. As he planned for an emergency landing, the engine lost all power. He notified air traffic control that he was "going down" and began an emergency descent. The airplane struck power lines and collided with the ground nose first. The pilot exited the airplane and waited for emergency services.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector arrived on scene about 4 hours after the accident and noted that the airplane was inverted in a parking lot. During the examination of the airplane he observed that the nose of the airplane was crush aft, the engine was crushed against the firewall and there was buckling throughout the fuselage. A mixture of water and fuel was observed dripping out of the right wing fuel cap. The inspector estimated about 2 gallons of water flowed from the fuel tanks. He contacted the fire chief on scene and asked if water was sprayed on the airplane; the fire chief responded "no" and went on to say that "the pilot was also looking at the water dripping from the tank." After the airplane was removed it was discovered that the fuel caps had an extensive amount of rust on both fuel ports.

An examination of the engine revealed impact damage signatures. The two blade, fixed pitch propeller remained attached to the crankshaft and displayed impact damage signatures to both of the blades. The crankshaft propeller flange remained partially attached to the rest of the crankshaft; the crankshaft was cracked aft of the propeller flange which was consistent with impact damage. The propeller was rotated by hand and camshaft, crankshaft, and valve train continuity to the rear accessory section of the engine was observed. Due to damage to the engine an engine test-run was not attempted. The magnetos, and the ignition harness were impact damaged and were unable to provide any useful information. The engine assembly did not reveal any anomalies within the drivetrain that would have precluded normal operation.

Examination of the carburetor revealed a significant amount of corrosion noted within the carburetor; there were several large flakes of corroded material at the bottom of the fuel bowl and one flake was located within the mixture control housing.

Examination of the airframe revealed flight control continuity to all of the flight surfaces and flight controls. Examination the airframe did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
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: 05/12/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/02/2017
Flight Time:  263 hours (Total, all aircraft), 57 hours (Total, this make and model), 263 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N2492U
Model/Series: 172 D
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17250092
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/10/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:2 Hours 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7558 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-300-D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 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: FMY, 17 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0953 EDT
Direction from Accident Site:190° 
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2200 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: FORT MYERS, FL (FMY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: FORT MYERS, FL (FMY)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0915 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

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: 26.637222, -81.976111 (est)


  1. Two gallons of water coming from the fuel tanks ! how is that possible even with the use of a known hydroscopic mogas fuel that amount would take a long time to accumulate in the tanks ?
    Remember if you leave your aircraft outside then always top up the tanks after flying.

  2. There are only two possible ways two gallons of water can get into a tank:

    1) If the fuel cap(s) is(are) not sealed and it rains...and rains heavily for a very long time.

    2) Sabotage.

  3. Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/10/2017, Annual
    Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
    Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
    Accident Date & Time: 07/07/2017, 0950 EDT

    Would not the Annual inspections of 04/10/2017 have included the examination for corrosion;
    of the of fuel caps "the fuel caps had an extensive amount of rust on both fuel ports;"
    and the carburetor for corrosion "where had an extensive amount of rust on both fuel ports.noted within the carburetor; there were several large flakes of corroded material at the bottom of the fuel bowl and one flake was located within the mixture control housing."