National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report
BLUE ASH, OH
Date & Time:
08/15/1998, 2305 EDT
Flight Conducted Under:
Part 91: General Aviation - Personal
The pilot flew to the Air National Guard Base, and performed military duty as a medical officer. That evening he gave a 30-minute orientation ride to a service member, and then departed for his home airport. Approximately 2 miles from his destination the pilot transmitted a Mayday call and announced, 'I'm out of gas and...I cannot make the airport.' The pilot performed a forced landing to the westbound lanes of a highway and collided with a van head on. Examination of the wreckage revealed no odor of fuel at the scene and one gallon of fuel was drained from the tanks. The hobbs meter reflected 3.8 hours of flight time from the pilot's first take-off. The airplane's fuel capacity was 26 gallons, 24.5 gallons of which were usable. The pilot had 99 hours of flight experience, approximately 59 of which were in make and model.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
the pilot's inaccurate calculation of the fuel which resulted in exhaustion of fuel and subsequent loss of engine power.
Occurrence #1: LOSS OF ENGINE POWER(TOTAL) - NONMECHANICAL
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On August 15, 1998, at 2305 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N93784, was destroyed when it collided with a vehicle following a forced landing to the Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway, 1 mile south of the Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport (ISZ), Blue Ash, Ohio. The certificated private pilot and the two occupants of the vehicle were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Terre Haute, Indiana, at 2125, destined for ISZ. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
The pilot departed ISZ, approximately 1100, and flew to the Hulman Regional Airport (HUF), Terre Haute, Indiana, to perform duty as a medical officer with the Indiana Air National Guard (IANG).
In a telephone interview, the Commander of the IANG unit stated the pilot arrived "...around noon..." and spent the afternoon performing physical examinations. He said the pilot briefly attended a unit social function after work and departed for the airport with an Airman from the unit, approximately 2000. The Commander said the two returned, overhead, approximately 30 minutes later and buzzed the party "...two or three times."
In a telephone interview, the Airman said he left the party with the pilot for an airplane ride. He said the pilot performed a preflight inspection prior to departure and they flew "...for a good 20-25 minutes...and the airplane was running smooth." The Airman said the pilot deplaned him at Hulman with the engine running and then departed for Blue Ash. According to Air Traffic Control (ATC) records, N93784 departed HUF, at 2059, for the local flight and then departed, at 2129 for ISZ.
Examination of ATC records revealed a "Mayday" call was transmitted over the emergency frequency by the pilot of N93784, at 2301. A review of ATC recordings revealed the following excerpts:
N93784: "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is N93784 calling emergency in flight."
Tower: "N93784 Cincinnati Tower."
N93784: "Yes sir, I've run out of gas and I'm about two miles south of the Blue Ash Airport...I cannot make the airport, I repeat, I cannot make the airport...I'm in trouble here."
Tower: "Where are you?"
N93784: "Cessna 172, at uh, one thousand three hundred...There's a road here and I'm going to follow it and try to land it on the road."
Tower: "Do you know what road that is?"
N93784: "No idea, no idea, sir."
The pilot performed a forced landing to the westbound lanes of the Ronald Reagan Highway. The airplane was on an easterly heading when it collided with a van travelling west.
The accident occurred during the hours of darkness approximately 39 degrees 14 minutes north latitude and 84 degrees 23 minutes west longitude.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued March 8, 1998.
A review of the pilot's logbook revealed he had accumulated approximately 99 hours of flight experience, 59 hours of which were in the Cessna 152. The pilot recorded 34 hours of dual flight instruction received.
The pilot did not fly from June 1997 until March of 1998. The pilot accrued approximately 10 hours of flight experience between March 29, 1998, and the day of the accident.
A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed an annual inspection was performed January 7, 1998. The airplane accrued 96 hours of flight time since the inspection.
According to the Cessna Pilot's Operating Handbook for the C-152, the fuel capacity was 26 gallons, of which 24.5 was usable.
Weather reported at the Cincinnati Lunken Airport, 9 miles south of the accident site was: scattered clouds at 4,700 feet with 2.5 miles visibility in fog. The winds were calm. The temperature was 70 degrees and the dewpoint was 69 degrees.
The wreckage was examined at the site, approximately 90 minutes after the accident, on August 16, 1998. There was no odor of fuel and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The engine compartment, cockpit and cabin areas entered the van through the windshield and came to rest in the passenger and cargo areas of the van. The wings, empennage, and tail section remained outside the van.
Control continuity was established to all flight control surfaces. The wings were removed intact, the residual fuel drained, and approximately 1 gallon of fuel was collected. The fuel line between the strainer and the carburetor contained no fuel. The carburetor float bowl contained approximately 3 tablespoons of residual fuel. The Hobbs meter reflected 3.8 hours from the time the airplane had departed ISZ.
The engine was examined at the Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport later the same day. The engine was rotated by hand and continuity was established through the powertrain to the accessory section. Ignition spark was confirmed at all leads from both magnetos at the terminal ends. Engine to magneto timing was confirmed. Compression was verified using the "thumb" method.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The fuel indicating system was removed from the wreckage and examined on September 15, 1998 by a representative of the Cessna Aircraft Company under the supervision of an FAA Airworthiness Inspector. The airplane manufacturer's service manual was used as a guide. The examination was conducted at the Blue Ash Airport, Blue Ash, Ohio.
According to the Cessna report:
"The left and right float assemblies were different in physical appearance from each other. The right float assembly had a rectangular type float and the wire arm had a 'U' bend in its reach. The left float assembly had a round type float. The float arm stop tab was bent out to where the arm would stop internally rather than resting on the arm stop tab."
According to the FAA Inspector's report:
"The float arms on both assemblies were loose 90 degrees to their normal travel and the indicating needles on both fuel gages were slightly bent toward the gage face...The tests produced erratic and inconsistent results, both in resistance readings and gage movements."
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Dr. Gary Lee Utz, Deputy Coroner, Hamilton County, Ohio, performed an autopsy on the pilot on August 16, 1998.
Toxicological testing was performed at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Examination of the fuel records at ISZ revealed N93784 was serviced with 9.4 gallons of fuel prior to departure. In an interview, the owner /operator of N93784 said he filled the fuel tanks to "overflowing." A review of the fixed base operator's fuel records at Hulman Airport revealed that no fuel was dispensed into N93784 on August 15, 1998.
The airplane wreckage was released to the owner on August 16, 1998.
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present:
Class 3 Valid Medical--w/ waivers/lim.
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
99 hours (Total, all aircraft), 59 hours (Total, this make and model), 47 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Year of Manufacture:
Landing Gear Type:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time:
SCHMIDT AQUISITIONS CORP.
SCHMIDT AQUISITIONS CORP.
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code:
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
LUK, 434 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
9 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Scattered / 4700 ft agl
None / 0 ft agl
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
29 inches Hg
21°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
TERRE HAUTE, IN (HUF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Type of Clearance:
Type of Airspace:
BLUE ASH AIRPORT (ISZ)
Runway Surface Type:
Runway Surface Condition:
3500 ft / 75 ft
Forced Landing; Straight-in
Wreckage and Impact Information
Investigator In Charge (IIC):
BRIAN C RAYNER
Additional Participating Persons:
STAN P FASKE; CINCINNATI, OH
SETH BUTTNER; WICHITA, KS
GREGORY ERIKSON; WAYNE, IL
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