Failure to secure gas cap leads to engine failure

Aircraft: Beech A36. Injuries: None. Location: Rock Springs, Wyo. Aircraft damage:  Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that the flight was uneventful, so she continued past her original destination to another airport. Shortly thereafter, she noticed fuel streaming from the left fuel tank cap and noted that the left fuel tank gauge indicated that the tank was about 3/4 full.

She continued the flight toward the new destination while continuing to use fuel from the left fuel tank. As the airplane neared the destination the fuel tank gauge indicated the tank was about 1/2 full. The airplane was at an altitude of about 1,500 AGL when the engine lost power.

The pilot switched fuel tanks and advanced both the throttle and mixture control levers in attempt to restore engine power, but the engine did not restart. She made  an off-airport landing to an open field.

During a post-accident interview, she stated that the fuel cap was not secured properly after refueling. As a result, fuel was siphoned from that fuel tank during the flight. Further, because she had chosen to continue operating on that fuel tank, the engine lost power due to fuel starvation. Investigators determined pressure differential likely resulted in the inaccurate fuel gauge indication.

Probable cause: The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation because of the incorrectly installed fuel cap. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to continue the flight using fuel from the left fuel tank after she observed fuel streaming from the left fuel tank cap.

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA309 

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. Sleepy says

    Rudy, don’t care what you have to say on any subject. You and your “truth” are bottom feeders. A little lower than burnt motor oil or your esteemed bed pans. But keep on maybe the medical community will one day find a cure for what ills you.

  2. RudyH says

    Okay lady, you were still in ‘pre-flight’ mode when you noted the unsecured fuel tank cap….okayy. (Hey Tom and Sweepee, the FAA concurred with the Amer Med Docs today to maintain the ‘3rd’ as it now stands… we told ya’ go for the modification to lengthen the period of validity to four or five years for age 45 or older Pvt aviators as a negotiation point…and even stick a ‘3rd’ on the Over 45 age light sport aviators for about four years validity periods….it won’t break ’em…)

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