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N2246Y accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 36.435555°N, 107.576945°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Nageezi, NM
36.266679°N, 107.742002°W
14.8 miles away
Tail number N2246Y
Accident date 16 Oct 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 177
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 16, 2003, at 1258 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 177, N2246Y, operated by Rainbow Aero, Inc., was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Nageezi, New Mexico. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan had been filed for the cross-country flight being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Farmington, New Mexico departed at 1130.

According to the pilot's statement, he conducted a thorough preflight prior to his departure from Albuquerque. The pilot stated that he measured 9.5 gallons of fuel in the left tank and 9.0 gallons of fuel in the right tank. The pilot said he used a wooden stick, calibrated by another pilot, for that specific aircraft. He checked fuel to verify there was no contamination and received assistance from another pilot checking the engine fuel sump. Engine start and taxi, and engine run-up were normal. The flight departed at 1130 and climbed from 5,355 feet msl to 10,500 feet msl. During cruise flight the pilot checked the fuel mixture. At1220, 50 minutes into the flight, the pilot reported he switched from both tanks to the right tank. The right tank went dry approximately 3 minutes later so the pilot switched to the left tank. During the pilot's gradual descent into Farmington, between 8,000 msl and 9,000 msl, the engine lost power. The pilot stated he established a pattern for a forced landing on a "narrow dirt road." During the landing roll, the airplane collided with the brush on the side of the road.

The left main landing gear separated and the elevator was crushed aft. Post accident examination of the fuel tanks revealed both were empty. An examination of the airplane's systems revealed no anomalies.

This flight lasted approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. This does not include time for engine start, taxi and engine run-up. According to FAR Part 91.151, Fuel requirements for flight in VFR conditions, "(a) No person may begin a flight in an airplane under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed, (1) During the day, to fly after that for at least 30 minutes." The engine installed on the accident airplane was a Lycoming O-320-E2D, producing 150 hp, and according to the pilot operating handbook, consumes 8.5 to 10 gallons of fuel per hour depending on the power setting.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's inadequate preflight planning, inadequate fuel consumption calculations, and improper fuel management. Contributing factors include fuel exhaustion resulting in the loss of power, the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing and the tree.

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