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N6181N accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 41.117223°N, 114.922223°W
Nearest city Wells, NV
41.111589°N, 114.964490°W
2.2 miles away
Tail number N6181N
Accident date 19 Jul 2012
Aircraft type Cessna T210M
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On July 19, 2012, about 1030 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna T210M, N6181N, nosed over during a forced landing near Wells Municipal Airport/Harriet Field (LWL), Wells, Nevada. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot undergoing instruction, certified flight instructor (CFI), and private pilot rated passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence. The instructional flight departed Wendover Airport, Wendover, Utah, about 1000. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot and passenger had recently purchased the airplane, and the flight was part of the dual instruction required by their insurance company. They departed earlier that day from Gooding, Idaho, with intermediate stops at Twin Falls, Idaho; Jackpot, Nevada; Wells, Nevada; and Wendover, Utah. The CFI reported that the airplane was fueled to capacity in Gooding the night prior to departure, and both he and the pilot reported that the gauges indicated each fuel tank contained about 195 pounds of fuel (32.5 gallons) once they had reached Wendover. All occupants reported that the flights were uneventful.

Prior to departure from Wendover, the pilot who had been the rear-seat passenger on all prior flights, moved to the front left seat. The decision was made to return to Wells, and after departure, he leveled the airplane for cruise at an altitude of 8,500 feet mean sea level (msl). The CFI reported that he was monitoring the descent into Wells, and once they had reached the 1/4 mile final for landing, the pilot stated, “I’ve got nothing.” The CFI looked over, and observed the engine controls in the full forward position, but the engine did not appear to be producing power.

The pilot reported that the engine appeared to be freewheeling, and did not vibrate or produce any unusual sounds. The CFI checked the fuel flow gauge, which indicated a flow rate of 100 pounds per hour. With minimal time to troubleshoot, the pilot performed a forced landing to a dirt field just short of the runway. During the landing roll, the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted, and sustaining substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and both wings.


The high-wing single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1978, and equipped with a turbocharged Teledyne Continental TSIO-520-PCR engine. Review of the airplane’s maintenance logbooks indicated that an annual inspection had been performed on July 1, 2012, at a total airframe/tachometer time of 3,977.6 flight hours. At that time, the engine had accumulated 83.8 flight hours since major overhaul. The tachometer read 3,985.3 hours at the accident site.


The airplane was recovered from the accident site, and examined by both the NTSB investigator-in-charge and a representative from Continental Motors Incorporated.

The engine sustained minimal damage during the accident sequence. The propeller remained attached to the hub, with one blade sustaining aft bending midspan. All fuel lines forward of the firewall remained connected, undamaged, and covered in fire sleeve; the inlet air filter was free of obstructions.

About 7 ounces of blue colored fuel was drained from the strainer, and no water contamination was observed when checked with SAR-GEL water detecting paste.

The throttle, propeller governor, and mixture cables were continuous from the cabin controls through to their respective control arms.

The magnetos remained firmly attached to their mounting pads, and the spark plugs were secure at each position, with their respective leads still attached. The top spark plugs were removed, were free of mechanical damage, and exhibited normal wear signatures when compared to the Champion AV-27 Aviation Check-A-Plug chart.

The crankshaft turned freely when rotated by hand utilizing the propeller, and sparks were observed at all top spark plug electrodes in firing order. Visual inspection of the combustion chambers was accomplished through the spark plug bores utilizing a borescope; there was no evidence of foreign object damage, and all combustion surfaces exhibited light grey deposits consistent with normal operation.

No evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction was noted during the examination, a complete report is contained within the public docket.

Utilizing the fuel recovered from the airplane, the engine was started in accordance with the procedures illustrated in the flight manual. The engine started, and appeared to run smoothly when operated at speeds of between 1,000-2,700 rpm. A magneto check was performed, resulting in an appropriate engine speed drop. The engine was operated for another 5 minutes, and no anomalies were noted.


The airplane remained inverted for 27 hours until it was recovered. The recovery crew drained 15 gallons of fuel from the left tank, and reported that the right tank was empty. Subsequent examination of right tank filler cap O-ring seal revealed that it was cracked and brittle around its entire circumference. The seal was tested with water, and droplets leaked past the O-ring and into the tank. The FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, reported the smell of avgas to be present.

NTSB Probable Cause

A loss of engine power during the final landing approach for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

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