This May 2009 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 210. Injuries: None. Location: Seattle. Aircraft damage: Minor.
What reportedly happened: During the descent for landing, the pilot did not use the checklist, which indicated that the pilot should activate the fuel boost pump, then switch fuel tanks.
He did not activate the pump before switching to the other fuel tank, which held 15 gallons. The engine lost power. The pilot was unable to restart the engine and made a forced landing in a city park. During the landing flare, the right wing hit a sign post, but the touchdown and roll out were successful.
An FAA inspector examined the airplane on scene and found that the right tank was empty and the left tank contained 15 gallons. After the airplane was recovered and fuel was placed in the left tank, the engine was successfully run with the fuel selector on the left tank.
Probable cause: A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot’s failure to activate the fuel boost pump when attempting an engine restart. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to use a checklist.
For more information: NTSB.Gov