This August 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Cessna A185F.
Location: Danube, N.Y.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot flew some of the cross-country flight with the fuel selector positioned to the right main fuel tank, rather than both fuel tanks, as the airplane seemed heavy on the right side. During the return flight, the plane experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot initiated a forced landing.
During the rollout the airplane hit a fence post. Examination of the wreckage revealed approximately 10 gallons of fuel in the left main fuel tank, and two gallons in the right main fuel tank. No mechanical anomalies were noted during examination or run-up of the engine. The fuel limitations for standard fuel tanks on the make and model accident airplane were 30.5 gallons in each fuel tank. There are a total of 55 gallons of usable fuel and six gallons of unusable fuel in all flight conditions. This amounts to 27.5 gallons of usable fuel and three gallons of unusable fuel for each main fuel tank.
Probable cause: The pilot’s mismanagement of the fuel supply.
For more information: NTSB.gov