The pilot reported that, near the conclusion of a long cross-country flight, the engine suddenly lost partial power.
He declared an emergency with air traffic control and was advised that the nearest airport was about five miles behind him. He reversed course and began heading toward the airport.
Unable to reach the airport, he initiated a landing to an open field near Doniphan, Missouri. During the landing roll, the Cessna 182 hit a fence and a detached garage.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and both wings.
Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed blue-colored fuel streaking from the right wing fuel cap to the trailing edge of the flap. Both fuel tanks were empty.
The pilot reported he was aware before the flight that the right wing fuel cap was leaking and that it had been leaking since he purchased the airplane about six months before the accident.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper decision to take off with a known fuel leak, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA361
This June 2017 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.