Saturday, January 11, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Cessna 150J, N50618; accident occurred October 07, 2019 near Fallon Municipal Airport (KFLX), Churchill County, Nevada

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Fallon, NV
Accident Number: GAA20CA010
Date & Time: 10/07/2019, 1930 PDT
Registration: N50618
Aircraft: Cessna 150
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during the preflight inspection, the fuel gauges indicated that each tank was half full. The pilot did not visually inspect the fuel tanks to verify the fuel gauges' indicated reading. After a 40-minute local flight, the engine lost power as the pilot was turning the airplane onto the base leg of the airport traffic pattern. The pilot recalled that the fuel gauge indicated that 1/4 tank of fuel remained. He made a forced landing in a flat attitude in a desert. The nose landing gear dug into the soft, dry surface, and the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the horizontal stabilizer and rudder. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He added that the accident could have been prevented if he had visually inspected the fuel tanks using a fuel stick to assess the fuel quantity.

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 and quantity inspection, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, a total loss of engine power, a forced landing on unsuitable terrain, and a subsequent nose-over.


Fuel - Inadequate inspection (Cause)

Personnel issues
Fuel planning - Pilot (Cause)
Preflight inspection - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Soft surface - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

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

Off-field or emergency landing

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 63
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/12/1985
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/08/2008
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 670 hours (Total, all aircraft), 630 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N50618
Model/Series:150 J 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1968 
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 15069437
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/19/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1601 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5189 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-200-A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator:On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KQAV, 3934 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1256 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 155°
Lowest Cloud Condition:Clear 
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.2 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fallon, NV (FLX)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fallon, NV (FLX)
Type of Clearance:VFR 
Departure Time: 1830 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Fallon Muni (FLX)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 3966 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5705 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 39.499167, -118.748889 (est)

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