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N48969 accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location 45.061667°N, 93.353333°W
Nearest city Brooklyn Park, MN
45.094132°N, 93.356341°W
2.2 miles away
Tail number N48969
Accident date 04 Sep 2002
Aircraft type Cessna 152
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 4, 2002, at 2150 central daylight time, a Cessna 152, N48969, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing near Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and his passenger reported no injuries. The flight departed from Rush City Regional Airport (ROS), Rush City, Minnesota, at 2110 and was on approach to Crystal Airport (MIC), Crystal, Minnesota, at the time of the accident.

According to written statements provided by the pilot, he and his passenger originally departed from MIC at approximately 1815 with the purpose to over fly the passenger's hunting lodge located in Holyoke, Minnesota, perform a few full-stop landings at Cloquet Carlton County Airport (COO), and then return back to MIC. The pilot reported, "Flying to Cloquet and back should take about 2.5 hours and the major city and landmarks including Highway 35 are sufficient to find the way." The pilot stated he checked the surface and winds aloft forecasts and "all appeared to give a general south wind from 5 to 15 knots. Winds aloft were not much greater." The pilot reported he visually checked the fuel quantity of the airplane prior to departure using a calibrated fuel quantity probe. The pilot stated the airplane was fueled with "no less than 20 gallons total. That being 10 gallons on each side." The pilot reported calling for a ground clearance, "at precisely 6:15pm."

The pilot stated he climbed to a cruising altitude of 5,500 feet mean sea level (msl) and "leaned the engine." The pilot reported he orbited the passenger's hunting lodge for approximately 5 minutes and then continued to COO. The pilot stated he performed two full stop taxi-backs at COO and then departed for the return trip to MIC. The pilot reported that his passenger asked if they could over-fly a friend's house near Duluth, Minnesota, prior to the return flight to MIC. The pilot stated he agreed, but they would not be able to loiter for more than a few minutes due to fuel considerations. The pilot reported that they located the residence and orbited for approximately four minutes before turning back for MIC.

The pilot stated he climbed to a cruising altitude of 4,500 feet msl and leaned the engine. The pilot reported that on the return trip his passenger noted that a semi-trailer truck on the interstate was "keeping pace" with the airplane. The pilot reported that he became "concerned about fuel" and "noted the fuel gauges were each above 1/4". The pilot elected to land at ROS to determine how much fuel he still had available. The pilot stated he visually checked the fuel quantity with a calibrated fuel quantity probe. The pilot reported there "appeared to be about 4 gallons in each wing tank. About 8 gallons in all." The pilot stated that the flight from ROS to MIC normally would take approximately 20 minutes and determined there was sufficient fuel to make the flight.

The pilot reported he departed from ROS at 2110 and while on approach to MIC the engine began to "sputter." The pilot stated he "believed then that we were running out of fuel." The pilot reported that he was approximately 1.25 miles from MIC and did not have sufficient altitude to glide to the airport. The airplane impacted a power transmission line and trees in a residential area. The pilot reported accident time was "exactly 9:50pm."

The pilot stated that subsequent to the accident he discovered the winds aloft had significantly changed and were approximately 40 knots. The pilot reported, "This lowered our ground speed dramatically more that I had believed and was very definitely a factor in our fuel exhaustion."

The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented by, "assure sufficient fuel for return from Rush City to MIC with 40 [knots] headwind and at least 45 minutes reserve. Better fuel management."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Cessna 152 Type Certificate Data Sheet, the Cessna 152 has a fuel capacity of 26 gallons, distributed between two 13 gallon wing tanks, with 1.5 gallons being unusable fuel.

According to the Cessna 152 Pilot Operating Handbook (POH), the fuel endurance at 75% power is approximately 3.2 hours, assuming a departure with 24.5 gallons usable fuel and a 45 minute fuel reserve.

The pilot reported departing MIC with approximately 20 gallons of fuel (18.5 useable).

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight preparation/planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and the loss of engine power. A factor to the accident was the power transmission line and the trees.

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