Sunday, November 29, 2020

Fuel Starvation: Piper PA-22-150 Caribbean, N4816A; accident occurred July 18, 2020 in Loveland, Clermont County, Ohio


Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cincinnati, Ohio

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Loveland, Ohio 
Accident Number: CEN20LA290
Date & Time: July 18, 2020, 17:30 Local
Registration: N4816A
Aircraft: Piper PA22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal Factual Information

On July 18, 2020, about 1730 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-22 airplane, N4816A, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Loveland, Ohio. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, before adding fuel, both fuel gauges read ¼ tank and he added about 7.5 gallons to each tank, for an additional 15 gallons of fuel. He then departed the Wadsworth Municipal Airport (3G3), Wadsworth, Ohio, en route to the Cincinnati Municipal Airport-Lunken Field (LUK), Lunken, Ohio. About an hour and half after departure, the engine lost power, had a momentary gain of power, and then lost power again. The pilot selected a road for a forced landing. During the landing, the airplane impacted several mailboxes and a light pole before coming to stop in a residential yard.

The pilot reported that he typically switches fuel tanks every 10-15 minutes but did not recall if he did it on this flight. He also did not switch fuel tanks after the initial loss of engine power.

Examination of the airplane found substantial damage to the left wing, damage to the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator, and right-side engine cowling. The fuel selector was in the off position. The right-wing fuel tank was then drained and about 5.5 gallons of fuel was recovered, the left-wing fuel tank did not contain any useable fuel. The carburetor float bowl was checked and no contaminates were found. The left fuel gauge read about ¼ and the right fuel gauge read zero. The examination did not confirm the accuracy of the gauges or if the wires were swapped from the left and right fuel tanks.

During the examination, fuel was added to right wing fuel tank, and the engine started. The engine was operated from idle to a high power setting with no abnormalities noted.

The pilot reported on the NTSB Form 6120.1 that he thought the reason for the engine failure was due to fuel exhaustion.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 31
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 1, 2016
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: April 30, 2019
Flight Time: 528 hours (Total, all aircraft), 168 hours (Total, this make and model), 383 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N4816A
Model/Series: PA22 150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 22-3969
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 4, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
Engine Model/Series: O-320-A2B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 150 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLUK
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 16:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 7 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5500 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 230° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Wadsworth, OH (3G3)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Destination: Lunken, OH (KLUK) 
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 14:50 Local
Type of Airspace:


Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation:
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used:
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.267501,-84.26583(est)  


  1. A 1/4 reading to him was interpreted as 1/4 empty and not 1/4 full? Honestly I expected to read about an 84 year old retired 25,000 hour pilot making this mistake from dementia. How the hell can a 31 year old who obviously drives cars, let alone has 500+ hours with 100+ in type not know which end of a fuel gauge is when it reads E on one end, F on the other and have 1/4 mark ticks between both? Fortunately nobody was hurt but this is just mind boggling. Even a first time 15 hour XC student solo doesn't make a stupid mistake like this.

  2. There's a guy who should lose is license. Reason for revocation: Terminal Stupidity.