Beechcraft Skipper runs out of fuel

Aircraft: Beechcraft Skipper. Injuries: 2 Minor. Location: Clark, S.D. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The passenger reported that the airplane’s low fuel light illuminated during the flight.

She stated that they continued the flight and were circling to land on a grass runway when the airplane crashed.

A witness reported seeing the airplane pass over the runway at a low altitude with the engine operating. The airplane then abruptly climbed and initiated a turn.

A witness on the ground said the airplane’s nose dropped as if it had stalled and then descended and crashed.

There was no bending of the blades of the engine’s propeller, indicating that the engine was not producing power at the time of the impact.

Both fuel tanks ruptured, and only one gallon of fuel was recovered at the scene. No fuel was found in the gascolator or carburetor. No fuel odor was present at the accident site.

The airplane maintenance manual indicated that one gallon of the airplane’s fuel supply was unusable fuel.

Investigators determined it is likely that the engine lost power during the landing approach due to fuel exhaustion and that the pilot failed to maintain airspeed after the power loss, resulting in an inadvertent stall.

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper fuel management, which led to fuel exhaustion, and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulting in an aerodynamic stall.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA346

This June 2012 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.


  1. Randy Coller says:

    Aircraft: N18012
    Aircraft owner: LITTLE CHIPPEWA CREEK LLC (From FAA Aircraft Regist Records)
    Pilot: 53-year-old Alan Johnson of Morris, Minn

    Thanks for helping raise our insurance rates.
    Anyone who runs out of fuel in an airplane should surrender their certificates to the FAA.

    • I agree. Never say never, but this happens at a bewildering rate. Visually checking the tanks and reviewing the burn per hour for your aircraft plus a healthy reserve should eliminate this problem. Remember, in aviation fuel is not distance it is TIME.

  2. I think the pilot was distracted by the Class 3 medical!

  3. “Skill can be learned – judgment – that’s another thing altogether”!

  4. The fuel warning light was aglow,
    Yet the flight would continue on,
    The airspeed became too slow,
    Evil forces allowed in had won.

  5. Poor decision making is killing us slowly.

  6. Ray, I agree, but as always and way too often, it should have never gotten to that point. Very poor flight planning.

  7. Really? AGAIN??? Fuel light comes on, LAND ASAP!!! What the hell. (banging head on wall).

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