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30th of June 2017, Fuel Starvation, Blog #658

A Cessna P210 Centurion, powered by a Continental TSIO-520 SER, was on cross-country flight, on this day in aviation history in 2017. With only the pilot onboard, the aircraft departed Montrose (Colorado, USA) with 60 gallons of fuel in the tanks, the aircraft was refuelled nine days before the flight. It had not flown since the refuelling.

The aircraft in its final position, just off the road. (Source: Kathrynsreport.com ©; Unknown)


The destination for the flight was Eagle County Regional Airport (Colorado USA). After an uneventful flight, the pilot contacted Eagle County Airport ATC and was directed to enter the downwind. As the aircraft entered the traffic pattern and the aircraft was configured for landing the engine suddenly lost power.

The "ENGINE FAILURE DURING FLIGHT" was completed, the pilot switched fuel tanks and attempted to restart the engine, but this was unsuccessful. The pilot informed ATC that he would make an off-field landing and elected an empty road for the forced landing. As the aircraft landed on the road the left wing impacted a pole, tearing off a 5-foot section of the wing, and swinging the aircraft off the road before it came to a stop. When fire and rescue personnel arrived on the scene, fuel was observed leaking from the aircraft, waterbased fire retardant was applied to the wings. After the aircraft was recovered, a fuel leak was also observed by the attending Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector.

The aircraft was examined by the NTSB Investigator-in-Charge and a technical representative from the engine manufacturer. A fuel can was connected to the left-wing fuel line and a visual engine examination was conducted. A slight fuel leak was noted on the fuel metering unit, otherwise no external visual abnormalities were noted with the engine. The top set of sparkplugs was removed; the sparkplugs had normal wear and light grey deposits. Each cylinder was borescoped; the engine crankshaft was rotated by hand, and sparks were observed on each ignition lead.

The aircraft in its final position, just off the road. (Source: Kathrynsreport.com ©; Unknown)

The Engine Data Monitor - EDM was analysed and the June 30th flight was plotted; just before the end of the data, there was a slight rise in exhaust gas temperatures (EGT), followed by a decrease. The rise and decrease in temperatures were uniform across all six cylinders. An engine run was performed, up to 2500 rpm including a magneto check, with no abnormalities observed. Only a small leak on the fuel metering valve was observed, it was determined that an O-ring was flattened, and the cause for this flattening could not be determined.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

"The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation for reasons that could not be determined because an examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation."


The NTSB Aviation Investigation Final Report, which served as the source for this blog, can be accessed by clicking on the .pdf file below;


Cessna P210 fuel starvation 30Jun2017
.pdf
Download PDF • 804KB

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