Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N5138G accident description

Maryland map... Maryland list
Crash location 39.362500°N, 76.449722°W
Nearest city White Marsh, MD
39.383719°N, 76.432184°W
1.7 miles away
Tail number N5138G
Accident date 29 Jun 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 172K
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 29, 2003, about 1215 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172K, N5138G, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in White Marsh, Maryland, while on approach to the Martin State Airport, Baltimore, Maryland. The certificated private pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The Martin State Airport (MTN) was located within the Washington, DC, Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

During a telephone interview, the pilot stated he telephoned a flight service station (FSS) about 0600, and filed two flight plans. The first flight plan was for a flight from MTN, to the Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR), Hagerstown, Maryland. The second flight plan was for the return flight to MTN, and included a stop at Fredrick Municipal Airport (FDK), Frederick, Maryland.

The pilot obtained a discrete transponder code and departed MTN about 0800. The flight to Hagerstown was uneventful, and he landed about 0930. The airplane was parked for 15 to 20 minutes, before departing for FDK. The pilot stated he did not activate his flight plan and utilized a transponder code of 1200. The pilot landed at Frederick about 1010, taxied back to the runway for takeoff, and departed about 1020. The pilot said he was near the Loch Raven Reservoir about 1100, when he contacted Potomac Approach Control to obtain clearance into the ADIZ, and land at MTN.

The pilot reported that the controller could not locate his flight plan, and he was instructed to contact the Leesburg FSS to file a flight plan. The pilot made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Leesburg FSS. He then advised Potomac Approach Control that he was not able to contact the FSS, and was instructed to hold for clearance. The pilot said that during the next 45 to 50 minutes, he made repeated calls to Potomac Approach Control in an attempt to obtain a clearance into the ADIZ. About 1200, the pilot informed the controller that he was "concerned" about the airplane's fuel status. The pilot did not declare an emergency or request priority handling. Approximately 5 minutes later, the pilot was provided a discrete transponder code, cleared into the ADIZ, and instructed to contact the Martin State Air Traffic Control Tower. The airplane was cleared to land; however, shortly thereafter, the airplane's engine began to lose power, and the pilot declared an emergency. The pilot said, "The engine began to sputter, and I immediately knew I was out of fuel."

The pilot felt the airplane did not have enough altitude to reach MTN, and he attempted a forced landing to a field about 3 miles northwest of MTN. During the landing, the airplane collided with trees.

During an interview, the pilot said that the airplane's fuel tanks were topped-off prior to departing MTN. While awaiting clearance into the ADIZ, the pilot observed the fuel gages getting "pretty low" and estimated he had about 30 minutes of fuel remaining. The engine lost power about 15 or 20 minutes later. When asked if he ever considered declaring a fuel emergency, the pilot replied "no" and stated he was not sure why not, except that he expected to receive clearance to land soon.

Review of communication tapes revealed that the pilot contacted the Williamsport Automated FSS at 0548. He obtained a weather briefing and filed two flight plans. The first flight plan was for a flight from MTN direct to HGR, with an estimated departure time 0700. The second flight plan was for the return flight to MTN, with a stop over at FDK, and an estimated departure time of 0900. The pilot indicated that his estimated fuel remaining was 3 hours. The flight service specialists advised the pilot that the flight plan from Hagerstown to Martin State would be good for 2 hours beyond the 0900 proposed departure time, and that he was not required to activate it.

Air Traffic Control transcripts revealed that the pilot contacted Potomac Approached Control and requested to land at Martin State at 1114. At 1126, the controller indicated he did not locate a flight plan for the flight in his computer system. The controller instructed the pilot to contact flight service to obtain a clearance into the ADIZ, and provided a radio frequency upon the pilot's request. At 1205, the pilot contacted the controller and stated he was circling north of Loch Raven reservoir, waiting for approval to return to Martin State. The controller said that flight service had not yet inputted his flight plan into the computer system, and at 12:06:38, the pilot replied "five one three eight golf uh o k I've been circling out here for a while." At 12:07:10, the controller provided the pilot a transponder code. At 1208:23, the controller reported he observed the airplane on radar and cleared it direct to MTN. At 1211, the pilot contacted the Martin State Air Traffic Control Tower, and was instructed to make a straight-in approach to runway 15. At 1214:16, the pilot declared an emergency and stated "I think I’m runnin out of fuel."

The pilot reported he did not experience any mechanical malfunctions with airplane. He reported about 75 hours of total flight experience, which included about 16 hours of flight experience since he received a private pilot certificate on June 24, 2002. His most recent flight before the accident, occurred about 60 days prior.

Review of the Washington Sectional Aeronautical Chart and an airport facility directory revealed that the Fallston Airport, Fallston, Maryland, was located about 8 miles east-northeast of the Loch Raven reservoir. The airport was located outside of the ADIZ area and contained a fix-base-operator that provided fuel service.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's in-flight decision to not land and refuel, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. A factor in the accident was the pilot's inadequate communications.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.