Friday, July 24, 2020

Fuel Exhaustion: Boeing N2S-3 Stearman, N2158P; accident occurred July 22, 2020 in Jacksonville, Pulaski County, Arkansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Jacksonville, AR
Accident Number: CEN20CA303
Date & Time: 07/22/2020, 1800 CDT
Registration: N2158P
Aircraft: Stearman N2S 3
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Banner Tow


According to the pilot, the accident flight was the second flight of the day towing banners in his biplane. On the return leg, the engine lost all power and the pilot landed along a pipeline and impacted a post, which resulted in substantial damage to the upper and lower right wing. The pilot informed a Federal Aviation Administration inspector that he may have run out of gas. The inspector drained about 1 quart of fuel from the gascolator and "less than a tablespoon" from the sump drains. There was no evidence of fuel in the fuel tanks. The tanks were not breached and the fuel lines appeared to be intact with no evidence of fuel leaks.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to adequately monitor his fuel quantity during flight, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a total loss of engine power.


Personnel issues Fuel planning - Pilot
Aircraft Fuel - Fluid level

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute Fuel exhaustion (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/01/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Stearman
Registration: N2158P
Model/Series: N2S 3 N1
Aircraft Category:Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1942
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number:75-6861
Landing Gear Type:
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer:
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
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:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Jacksonville, AR (79AR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Jacksonville, AR (79AR)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1500 CDT
Type of Airspace:Class E

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: 34.856111, -92.081111 (est)

A pilot escaped with minor injuries Wednesday evening in Jacksonville after the plane he was flying made an emergency landing near a pipeline off Glen Road, according to Pulaski County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Robert Garrett.

The pilot took off from his own runway and had engine failure while in the air, making an emergency landing about 6 p.m. and suffering only minor injuries, Garrett said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted by deputies and will be investigating the incident, Garrett added.

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