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N1919X accident description

Tennessee map... Tennessee list
Crash location 35.966667°N, 82.315000°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 Knoxville, TN
35.960638°N, 83.920739°W
89.8 miles away
Tail number N1919X
Accident date 05 Oct 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 182H
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 5, 2003, at 0317 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182H, N1919X, registered to the J-Matt Corp., and operated by the private pilot, collided with trees during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power 7 miles northeast of the Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was filed. The pilot and passenger were not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight originated from Auburn-Opelika Airport in Auburn, Alabama, on October 5, 2003, at 0100.

The pilot stated that he topped off both fuel tanks prior to departing Knoxville Downtown Island Airport. The airplane had extended range tanks and held 51 gallons of fuel. The pilot stated that there were 12 gallons of fuel in the left tank and 39 gallons of fuel in the right tank. The flight from Knoxville Downtown Island Airport to Auburn-Opelika Airport was uneventful. On the return trip, from Auburn to Knoxville, the pilot switched the fuel lever to the right fuel tank immediately after departure to compensate for the unequal fuel quantities. Approximately 8 miles east of the Knoxville Downtown Island Airport at 2500 feet, the airplane engine began to sputter and the pilot stated that he moved the fuel lever to the both tanks position. The airplane engine fired, ran shortly and then stopped. The pilot was unable to restart the engine and reported the engine failure to the air traffic controller. The pilot set up the airplane for a slow, full flap decent but was unable to see where to land due to the darkness. The right wing of the airplane struck a tree and the airplane came to rest in a small field.

Examination of the airplane revealed the outer section of the right wing and wing strut detached, the nose gear detached and there was damage to the propeller. Blue stains were found streaking along the top of the left wing and left side of the fuselage, and the left fuel cap was missing. A search for the fuel cap along the crash path and general area of the wreckage was unsuccessful. The examination found no usable fuel in either tank.

The fuel caps on this airplane were aftermarket gas caps installed in accordance with STC # SA2376CE. The gas caps are designed to be twisted on and when the cap is completely rotated in a clockwise direction, it will stop in a locked position. The gas cap is visible from the ground but does not have any reference markings to allow a person to visually determine if the gas caps are properly locked in place. During the pilot's post-accident interview and his written statement, he did not report securing the fuel caps during the preflight inspection.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection by his failure to secure the left fuel tank cap which resulted in fuel exhaustion, and the loss of engine power.

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