Aircraft: Cessna 210. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Tillatoba, Miss. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: When the pilot planned the long cross-country flight, he told flight service personnel that he expected to have to deviate due to thunderstorms. The pilot stated that he would stop short of the destination airport if he could not safely navigate around thunderstorm cells.
The pilot utilized Flight Following during the flight. About five hours into the flight, he notified an air traffic controller that he was going to divert to a nearby airport, which was in clear weather conditions. When the airplane was approximately 10 miles from the new destination, flight following services was terminated.
The pilot was not able to recall the accident sequence because of his injuries, however an onboard GPS and a witness on the ground stated that the airplane overflew the airport and circled, but did not land. The plane continued toward the original destination, then 10 minutes later turned back to the alternate airport.
During the return to the alternate airport the engine lost power and the pilot made a forced landing into trees.
The post-accident engine inspection did not reveal any mechanical abnormalities. At the time of the accident, the airplane had flown five hours and 28 minutes without refueling. According to the pilot’s operating handbook, the airplane’s endurance at 70% power was about 5 hours 10 minutes, not accounting for fuel used during engine start, taxi, takeoff, or climb.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper fuel management and his decision to continue flight in deteriorating weather conditions with low fuel, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.
NTSB Identification: ERA12LA543
This September 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.