The pilot reported that, during an IFR cross-country flight, he realized the Cessna 182 was “very low on fuel.”
With air traffic control’s assistance, he diverted to an airport along his route, which was about 30 nautical miles from the intended destination. He had difficulty locating the airport visually, and when he did locate the runway, the airplane was “too high” to land.
As he continued descending and maneuvering toward the runway, the engine lost power, and he landed in a field near Fairfield, Montana.
He said that the airplane “hit the field hard,” bounced, and struck a utility pole before stopping.
The pilot reported in the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report that he was informed that no fuel was found in the airplane and that the right fuel cap was not installed. He noted that he added fuel to both fuel tanks at the departure airport and that there was a “possibility/likelihood” that he did not secure the right fuel cap during preflight. He added that, during the diversion, he did not complete the “forced landing checklist.”
The airplane was destroyed and the pilot suffered minor injuries.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to secure the right fuel cap during the preflight inspection, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, a total loss of engine power, and an off-airport hard landing.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA529
This September 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.