Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary ERA23LA018

Middlefield, OH, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot departed on the fifth and final leg of the evening’s flights with no cargo and an unknown quantity of fuel. He reported that he had to deviate due to weather along the route of flight, and that the right engine began running rough after reaching cruise altitude. About 2.2 hours into the planned 2-hour flight, and about 25 miles from the destination airport, both of the airplane’s engines began “surging” and eventually “stopped producing power.” The pilot stated that he looked at the fuel gauges and they indicated empty. The pilot completed a forced landing to horse pastures, during which the airplane impacted fences, resulting in substantial damage to the wings and the fuselage. There was no evidence of fuel, fuel spillage, or odor of fuel at the scene. The pilot stated that the accident flight was longer than planned due to headwinds and weather diversions. The pilot also explained that there were known discrepancies with the fuel gauges. He also described that there had been a difference between the amount of fuel he requested at one fuel stop, what was actually dispensed, and the total amount he believed was on board when he departed on the accident flight, as he did not get a receipt, or confirm the amount dispensed. Based on the pilot’s own fuel planning numbers, full tanks at initial departure, and the fuel purchased at 2 of his 4 stops, the airplane had a fuel endurance of about 6.8 hours, of which .8 hours was for IFR reserve minimums. The total time of the 5 legs was approximately 7.2 hours.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot’s inadequate fuel planning and inflight fuel management which resulted in exhaustion of his fuel supply and a forced landing.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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