Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary CEN21LA371

West Fargo, ND, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot was performing a go-around at the destination airport when the airplane lost total engine power and subsequently impacted terrain. Postaccident examination revealed useable fuel in the left-wing fuel tank, and no useable fuel in the right fuel tank. The fuel selector was positioned to the left-wing fuel tank. The fuel vent system was unobstructed. The examination revealed little fuel in the fuel system from the fuel selector to the engine, which was consistent with fuel starvation. The fuel sender resistance values for the left-wing tank indicated that erroneous fuel quantity values would have been displayed at the cockpit fuel gauges. There were no anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation. Based on the available information, it is likely that the loss of engine power was the result of fuel starvation when the pilot exhausted the fuel supply in the right-wing tank. Although the fuel selector was found selected to the tank that contained fuel, it is likely that the pilot switched fuel tanks following the loss of engine power.

Factual Information

On August 10, 2021, about 1545 central daylight time, a Cessna 210D airplane, N3944Y, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near West Fargo, North Dakota. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Witnesses stated that the pilot performed a go-around after an attempt to land on runway 18. During the go-around, the airplane banked right and the engine “cut out.” The airplane impacted a field west of the runway and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. An on-scene examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the fuel selector was in the left tank position. There was about 8 gallons of fuel in the left wing fuel tank and no useable fuel in the right wing fuel tank. The right wing sustained impact damage, but there was no evidence of fuel on the ground at the accident site. There was no evidence of a fuel leak or fuel staining on the airplane. A subsequent examination of the engine and fuel system revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Examination of the fuel system found about 1/8 ounce of fuel in the fuel system forward of the fuel selector. The fuel system lines and components were intact, secure, and did not exhibit any evidence of leakage. The fuel vent system was unobstructed. The fuel selector operated through its detents without anomaly. An ohmmeter was used to check resistances of both fuel senders when their float arms were positioned at the top and bottom mechanical stops. The approximate resistance values for the left fuel sender bottom stop was 28 ohms, the right fuel sender bottom stop was 38 ohms. According to the aircraft manufacturer, the fuel senders’ minimum resistance value should be 33.5 ohms +/- 2 ohms.

Probable Cause and Findings

A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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