According to the FAA Aviation Safety Inspector who arrived at the scene shortly after the accident near Reno, Nevada, he located the uninjured pilot in command (PIC) and a passenger-rated pilot who were the only occupants of the airplane.
The inspector reported that the PIC told him that he had fueled the Cessna 182 prior to the flight.
The PIC told the inspector that he had flown 2.5 hours on the right tank, which indicated 3.9 gallons of fuel remained per the electronic fuel quantity indicator, at which time he switched to the left tank, which indicated 15 gallons of fuel remained per the electronic fuel quantity indicator.
The PIC reported that after switching tanks the engine ran for an additional five minutes and ceased operation.
The PIC contacted air traffic control, stating that he had experienced an “engine failure” and that they would not make it to the nearest airport.
He landed the airplane on a highway five miles from the destination airport. During the landing the nose gear collapsed and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall.
During a post-accident examination of the airplane by the FAA Inspector, there wasn’t any usable fuel found in the left or right fuel tanks, and the paved surface where the airplane landed did not contain any evidence of fuel spillage.
The airplane landed five miles from the nearest airport. The pilot’s destination airport was 17.5 nautical miles southwest of the accident site. The distance between the departure airport and the destination airport was about 415 nautical miles.
According to the pilot operating handbook, the range of the airplane is 880 nautical miles.
The NTSB Investigator contacted the FBO who reportedly fueled the airplane prior to the flight in order to acquire the fuel records. The operator did not have any fuel records for the plane.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate fuel planning, resulting in fuel exhaustion and substantial damage to the firewall during the forced landing.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA259
This May 2016 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.