Burleson, TX, USA
The pilot had just departed the runway for a second circuit in the traffic pattern. Shortly thereafter, he declared an emergency but did not indicate the nature of the emergency. A witness said he heard the "loud strong engine sound suddenly and drastically reduce to either power off or a low idle." He saw the airplane fly level for a few seconds then descend slowly toward the ground; the wings banked slightly one way, then the other. He stated that the airplane continued flying straight while descending, that the wings began to rock slightly, and that when the airplane was about 10 to 20 ft above the tree line, its “rate of descent accelerated into the trees." The airplane struck tree-covered terrain and impacted the ground about 1/2 mile south of the runway. A postcrash fire ensued and destroyed the airplane. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operations. The damage signatures on the propeller were consistent with little to no power at the time of impact. The examination revealed that the inboard portion of the right wing was partially consumed by the fire, but the remainder of the wing exhibited no fire damage. The right fuel tank area of the wing appeared undamaged, and the right fuel tank was empty. The left wing was consumed by fire, and given the extent of fire damage, the fuel tank likely contained fuel. The fuel selector valve appeared to be selected to the left tank but was about 5° counterclockwise past the left tank position and was not secure in the detent. The engine-driven fuel pump’s driveshaft was intact and there was no fuel in the fuel pump. Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the engine lost power due to fuel starvation. It is unknown if the pilot selected the left tank before takeoff or after the loss of engine power. With the fuel selector valve not placed in the detent for the left fuel tank, fuel would not be able to flow from the tank to the engine and the engine would have lost power.
HISTORY OF FLIGHTOn May 7, 2020, about 1513 central daylight time, a Cessna T210L airplane, N2074S, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Burleson, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was departing from runway 17R at Fort Worth Spinks Airport (FWS), Fort Worth, Texas. According to recorded radio communications and the airplane’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast data, the airplane was cleared for takeoff and lifted off about 1504. The pilot made a right turn to crosswind, turned to downwind, climbed to pattern altitude, and then made a full-stop landing about 1508. He was cleared to taxi back to runway 17R and was subsequently cleared for a second takeoff. After the second takeoff the pilot radioed that he was "declaring an emergency” but did not state the nature of the emergency. The controller asked the pilot if he was “going down on the highway there." There was no reply from the pilot. A witness who observed the airplane climb said he heard the "loud strong engine sound suddenly and drastically reduce to either power off or a low idle." He saw the airplane fly level for a few seconds then descend slowly toward the ground; the wings banked slightly one way, then the other. He stated that the airplane continued flying straight while descending, that the wings began to rock slightly, and that when the airplane was about 10 to 20 ft above the tree line, its “rate of descent accelerated into the trees." The airplane struck tree-covered terrain and impacted the ground about 1/2 mile south of runway 17R. A postcrash fire ensued. WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATIONExamination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain on a heading of about 120°. The debris field consisted of less than a dozen small pieces of metal within a 12-ft radius of the impact point. The left wingtip was located in a nearby tree about 81 ft above the ground. The right wing bore little evidence of fire impingement, and no fuel was present in the right fuel tank. The left wing and most of the cabin area were consumed by fire. Further examination of the airframe and engine revealed that the fuel selector valve appeared to be on the left tank but was not in the detent; it was about 5° counterclockwise past the left tank position. The inboard dry bay portions of the right wing were partially consumed by the postimpact fire, but the remainder of the wing exhibited no fire damage. The right fuel tank area of the wing was undamaged. The left wing was consumed by fire from the wing root to the aileron. The top spark plugs were removed nothing abnormal noted. Engine continuity and compression was confirmed by rotating the propeller, which remained attached to the engine. Spark was produced on all the magneto leads. The engine-driven fuel pump’s driveshaft was intact. There was no fuel in the fuel pump. Examination of the q-tip propeller assembly revealed that one blade was straight and relatively undamaged; only the tip was curled aft. The second blade was twisted 90°. The third blade was relatively undamaged but had scratches and scuff marks on the cambered surface. According to the company that provided fuel at FWS, there was no evidence the pilot purchased fuel on the day of the accident. The last evidence that the pilot fueled the airplane was on April 30, 2020, about 1453 in Granbury, Texas; 36.5 gallons were purchased. The pilot made four flights after fueling, totaling about 1 hour 13 minutes. MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATIONThe Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District, Fort Worth, Texas, performed an autopsy on the pilot and listed the cause of death as “thermal injuries and smoke inhalation.” Toxicological screening by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Forensic Sciences Laboratory revealed an 11% carboxyhemoglobin saturation in blood (heart); quinine and amlodipine were detected in urine and blood (femoral).
The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.
Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database
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