Sunday, June 20, 2021

Loss of Engine Power (Total): North American T-28B, N28CU; accident occurred June 20, 2019 near Hollister Municipal Airport (KCVH), San Benito County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Jose, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hollister, California 
Accident Number: GAA19CA426
Date & Time: June 20, 2019, 12:00 Local
Registration: N28CU
Aircraft: North American T28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total) 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, after takeoff and while the airplane was about 500 ft above ground level, he retracted the landing gear and that, shortly thereafter, the engine sputtered and lost power. He adjusted the fuel mixture, but it did not have any effect. He attempted to return to the airport, but after realizing that the airplane would not reach the runway, he decided to land in a dirt field near the airport with the landing gear retracted. He recalled that he had the airplane refueled about a week before the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. The Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the airplane reported that he only removed about 1 or 2 cups of fuel out of the fuel system. The airplane was equipped with only one fuel gauge, which had a single switch that had left, right, and center positions. In the left position, it showed empty; in the center position, which showed the total fuel onboard, it showed 900 lbs; and in the right position, it also showed 900 lbs. No fuel leaks were found, and there were no signs of fuel on the ground. The pilot reported as a safety recommendation to "always top off fuel."

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the subsequent total loss of engine power. 


Personnel issues Fuel planning - Pilot
Aircraft Fuel - Fluid level
Aircraft Fuel - Inadequate inspection
Aircraft Fuel quantity indicator - Incorrect service/maintenance

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)
Initial climb Fuel exhaustion
Landing Off-field or emergency landing

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
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 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/09/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/14/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1653 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1000 hours (Total, this make and model), 1610 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: North American
Registration: N28CU
Model/Series: T28 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 200302
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/10/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 14000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 15673.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Wright
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: R-1820-86B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 1425 hp
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: KCVH, 237 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1900 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 321°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1400 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 250°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hollister, CA (CVH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Hollister, CA (CVH)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1200 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Hollister Muni (CVH)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 230 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6350 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

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: 36.893333, -121.410278 (est)

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