Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Fuel Exhaustion: Cessna 177B Cardinal, N30703; accident occurred November 08, 2016 in Hopkinton, Washington County, Rhode Island

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts
Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

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


Location: Hopkinton, RI
Accident Number: ERA17LA040
Date & Time: 11/08/2016, 1415 EST
Registration: N30703
Aircraft: CESSNA 177
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 8, 2016, about 1415 eastern standard time, a Cessna 177B, N30703, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Hopkinton, Rhode Island. The private pilot was not injured. No flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Windham Airport (IJD), Willimantic, Connecticut, and was destined for Richmond Airport (08R), West Kingston, Rhode Island. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

After a normal preflight inspection, the pilot departed towards the southwest for the 28 nautical mile flight to 08R. During cruise flight, about 7 nautical miles from the destination airport, the engine suddenly lost all power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful. From an altitude of 1,800 ft mean sea level, the pilot selected a field and executed a forced landing. During the landing roll, the airplane impacted two small trees before it came to rest, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings and the fuselage.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to get fuel at 08R. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the airplane before it was recovered did not observe any fuel in the intact left wing fuel tank, or the compromised right fuel tank; nor was there any blighting of the grass or any other evidence of a fuel spill. The first responders did not report any fuel leaking from the airplane; and recovery personnel removing the wings did not report any fuel present in the fuel strainer bowl when the fuel line was removed.

During a subsequent exam by an FAA inspector, 12 ounces of fuel was drained from the carburetor, electric fuel pump, and fuel bowl. The fuel pump contained a few drops of residual fuel. The fuel collected was free of debris and water.

The Cessna 177 Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) requires that fuel quantity be "visually checked" during preflight. According to the pilot, he "stuck" the tanks with a wooden stick prior to departing and determined there was about 3 inches of fuel from the bottom of the tank; which he determined to be about 12 total gallons of fuel, or 6 gallons of fuel per tank. He stated that the engine typically consumed about 10 gallons of fuel per hour. He planned for the flight to 08R to take about 20 to 30 minutes. The airplane had flown two previous flights before since last being fueled.

The four-seat, high-wing, tricycle-gear airplane was manufactured in 1969. It was powered by Lycoming O-360, 180-horsepower engine, driving McCauley controllable pitch propeller. Its most recent annual inspection was completed November 6, 2015.

The weather conditions reported at the Westerly State Airport (WST), Westerly, Rhode Island, which was located about 11 miles south of the accident site, included wind from 210° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 15° C, dew point 3° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 73, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
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 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/26/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/01/2016
Flight Time:  1517 hours (Total, all aircraft), 37 hours (Total, this make and model), 1480 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N30703
Model/Series: 177 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1969
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17701412
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/06/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4461.3 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-A1B6D
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: KWST, 81 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1353 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 189°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: WILLIMANTIC, CT (IJD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: WEST KINGSTON, RI (08R)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 EST
Type of Airspace: Unknown

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: 41.537222, -71.758611 (est)

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