The pilot of the Cessna 182 reported that, after traveling about 270 nautical miles (nm) to the destination airport, the pilot-controlled lighting would not illuminate when activated.
He diverted to an alternate airport that was 40 nm to the northeast, but discovered that runway lighting was not available at the alternate airport.
He then decided to fly about 70 nm southwest to another alternate airport, but the engine quit even though the fuel indicator showed that 1/4 tank of fuel remained.
He reported that he entered a descending left turn, that he leveled the wings with no flaps, and that the airspeed was about 52 kts. The airplane landed hard in Apple Valley, California, and nosed over after the nose landing gear and propeller struck a berm.
Substantial damage was sustained to both wings, the firewall, and empennage. There was one serious injury and one minor injury sustained in the crash.
During the airplane recovery, the fuel selector was photographed in the right wing tank position. The left tank did not have any fuel in the tank, and the right tank contained about 2 cups of fuel.
According to the FAA avionics inspector present during the examination of the airplane’s radios and antennas, no failures or malfunctions were identified.
According to the FAA Airport Facility Directory, both the destination and diversion airports were equipped with medium intensity runway lighting, and the first airport the pilot diverted from was equipped with precision approach path indicator lights.
No NOTAMS pertaining to lighting were issued at these airports on the date of the accident.
Probable cause: The pilot’s mismanagement of the available fuel, which resulted in a loss of engine power and a subsequent hard, off-airport landing and nose-over.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA098
This December 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.