Sunday, February 28, 2021

Fuel Exhaustion: Cessna 150E, N4729U; accident occurred March 25, 2020 near Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Collin County, Texas

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; Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: McKinney, Texas
Accident Number: CEN20LA133
Date & Time: March 25, 2020, 18:30 Local 
Registration: N4729U
Aircraft: Cessna 150
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information

On March 25, 2020, about 1830 central daylight time, a Cessna 150E airplane, N4729U, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident after departing Aero Country Airport (T31), McKinney, Texas. 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, he performed a preflight inspection with no anomalies noted and confirmed 14 gallons of fuel onboard by using a dipstick, which would have yielded about 1.5 hours of flight time with a 30-minute reserve. He departed T31 about 1730 and flew 26 miles north to an airport for three touch-and-go landings. The pilot then flew back to T31 and completed three more touch-and-go landings. He reported that before the final landing, the fuel gauges indicated 1/4 tank and 1/8 tank of fuel. On climb out from the final touch-and-go, about 200 ft above ground level, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot advanced the throttle and mixture controls full forward and turned off the carburetor heat, but the engine did not respond. The pilot made a forced landing to a golf course, during which the airplane collided with a tee box and nosed over.

Figure 1 shows the accident airplane on the golf course after it had been flipped upright. The wings are slightly damaged but remained attached to the fuselage and the fuel caps are still installed. 

Figure 1 – The accident airplane upright on the golf course.

The pilot reported that fuel was leaking from the fuel tank caps while the airplane was inverted and when the airplane was recovered to a hangar at T31, about 3 gallons of fuel were drained from the fuel tanks.

According to the airplane owner's manual, the fuel tanks hold a total of 26 gallons with 3.5 gallons unusable (1.75 gallons per tank). A postaccident examination was completed by a mechanic with oversight provided by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The inspector noted that 2 to 3 gallons of fuel were found in a container, which held the fuel previously drained from the tanks. The fuel strainer and its attached fuel line remained attached to the firewall and were undamaged. The strainer, fuel lines, and carburetor did not contain any fuel and were completely dry and clear of contaminants. The examination did not reveal any other preaccident anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor 
Age: 38, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider 
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane single-engine 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: September 1, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: November 13, 2018
Flight Time: 1670 hours (Total, all aircraft), 200 hours (Total, this make and model), 1520 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 70 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4729U
Model/Series: 150 E 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1965 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Other 
Serial Number: 15061177
Landing Gear Type: 
Tricycle Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: August 8, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1601 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 12.6 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3832.7 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-200-A
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 100 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: KDAL,488 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 18:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 195°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 180°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.26 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: McKinney, TX (T31) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: McKinney, TX (T31)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 18:28 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E; Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Aero Country T31 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 765 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used: 17 IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4352 ft / 60 ft
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: 33.202499,-96.743614(est)