Saturday, January 04, 2020

Fuel Related: Cessna 172P Skyhawk, N99308; accident occurred January 20, 2019 in Aguilares, Webb County, Texas

Engine Data Monitor Data Plot. 

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration; San Antonio, Texas
Federal Aviation Administration; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Aguilares, TX
Accident Number: CEN19LA063
Date & Time: 01/20/2019, 1330 CST
Registration: N99308
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel related
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation 

On January 20, 2019, about 1330 central standard time, a Cessna 172P airplane, N99308, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Aguilares, Texas. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Skylens, LLC. The aerial observation flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan was filed for the flight. The local flight departed Laredo International Airport (LRD), Laredo, Texas, about 0906 and was en route to return to LRD.

Due to the government furlough, neither the National Transportation Safety Board, nor the FAA responded to the accident site.

According to the pilot, she was conducting an aerial photography flight. The pilot reported that she departed with about 40 gallons of fuel, with the fuel selector valve selected for both fuel tanks. She added that during straight and level flight, she switched the fuel selector valve to the slower-burning tank, and then after about 2 hours she switched it back to both. The pilot monitored the difference in consumption for the remainder of the flight, changing tanks as needed to keep it balanced. The pilot added that based upon experience, she had fuel for about 5.5 hours of flight on full fuel tanks.

The airplane was at an altitude of 5,300 ft mean sea level when the airplane began shaking and the engine rpm dropped to about 900. The pilot recalled that she moved the fuel selector valve from one side to both and attempted to restore engine power by adjusting the fuel mixture control and the engine throttle control, with no improvement. The pilot stated that she pitched the nose of the airplane down for best glide speed and prepared for a forced landing to a gravel road. During the forced landing, the airplane bounced and veered off the road and into a field. As the nose landing gear came down, it stuck in the grass, and the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. Both wings and the fuselage were substantially damaged.

The first responders reported to the FAA inspector that immediately after the accident, fuel was leaking from the right fuel tank but not the left fuel tank. After the airplane was righted, about 4 gallons of fuel were recovered from the right fuel tank and the left fuel tank was empty. It is unknown how much fuel, if any, leaked out while the airplane was inverted.

According to the Cessna Pilot Operating Handbook for the Cessna 172P, the fuel tanks have a total capacity of 43 gallons of fuel; 3 gallons of unusable fuel. The review also noted under Cruise Performance, if properly leaned, the fuel consumption is between 6.4 and 7.3 gallons of fuel per hour.

The airframe, engine, and related systems were later examined under the auspices of an FAA inspector. The engine test run was conducted; the engine started without hesitation and ran at various power settings. The FAA inspector reported that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airframe, engine, or related systems that would have precluded normal operations.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 28, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; 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 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/23/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/17/2018
Flight Time: 611.4 hours (Total, all aircraft), 378.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 531.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 238.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 81 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N99308
Model/Series: 172 P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1985 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 17276431
Landing Gear Type: Float; Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/20/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 15201 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-D2J
Registered Owner: Skylens Llc
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: Skylens Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHBV, 662 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1930 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  5 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.34 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Haze; No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Laredo, TX (KLRD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Laredo, TX (KLRD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0906 CST
Type of Airspace: Class E; Class G

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: 27.448333, -99.086389 (est)

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