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N432BD accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 37.747500°N, 97.221111°W
Nearest city Wichita, KS
37.692236°N, 97.337545°W
7.4 miles away
Tail number N432BD
Accident date 22 Sep 2016
Aircraft type Scottish Aviation Series 100 Mdl 101
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 22, 2016, about 1055 central daylight time, a Scottish Aviation Series 100 Model 101 airplane, N432BD, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Wichita, Kansas. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to the pilot-rated passenger and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Augusta Municipal Airport (3AU), Augusta, Kansas, about 1040.

The pilot reported that he planned to complete a three-leg local flight from 3AU to the Cpt Jack Thomas Memorial Airport (EQA), to the Col. James Jabara Airport (AAO), and return to 3AU. He proceeded to EQA and completed a takeoff and landing. He then flew to AAO for two additional takeoffs and landings. After departing from AAO to return to 3AU, about 2,500 ft mean sea level, the engine "sputtered and went to idle." His attempts to restore engine power were not successful. The airplane struck a wooden fence during the subsequent forced landing. The airplane sustained damage to the leading edges of the wings.

A postaccident examination was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. During that examination, about 1.5 gallons of fuel was recovered from the accident airplane. The inspector did not observe any evidence of a fuel spill at the accident site. The fuel totalizer indicated that 7.3 gallons remained. A postrecovery engine exam was conducted under the supervision of an FAA inspector. Five gallons of fuel were added to each fuel tank. A slow leak (approximately 1 drip every 10 seconds) was observed from the left-wing fuel tank at two rivets near the area of the fence post strike. No leaks were observed from the right-wing fuel tank. The engine started and ran smoothly at idle and about 1,000 rpm. No anomalies with respect to the engine were observed.

The pilot reported that about 16 gallons of fuel were on-board upon the initial departure from 3AU, with about 8 gallons remaining at the time of the takeoff from AAO. He added that "the aircraft utilizes a fuel totalizer to calculate fuel on board. A method to verify the totalizer's measurement of fuel remaining versus the actual fuel in [the] tanks is suggested." The pilot informed an FAA inspector that the airplane fuel gauges were unreliable so he used the fuel totalizer for that information.

The fuel totalizer operating instructions noted that "the fuel remaining displayed by the FP-5(L) is not a measurement of the fuel in the tanks. . . . Even after verifying the calibration of the FP-5(L) it should never be used as the primary indicator of fuel quantity in the tanks." The instructions also added that "the use of the FP-5(L) does not eliminate or reduce the necessity for the pilot to use good flight planning, preflight and in-flight techniques for managing fuel."

Federal regulations [14 CFR 91.205(b)(9)] require an operable fuel gauge indicating the quantity of fuel in each tank for all types of operations.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s improper preflight inspection during which he relied on the fuel totalizer and failed to ensure that sufficient fuel was onboard for the flight, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a total loss of engine power.

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