National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

BLUE ASH, OH

Accident Number:

IAD98FA095

Date & Time:

08/15/1998, 2305 EDT

Registration:

N93784

Aircraft:

Cessna 152

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Defining Event:

 

Injuries:

3 Fatal

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

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.

Probable Cause and Findings

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.

Findings

 

Occurrence #1: LOSS OF ENGINE POWER(TOTAL) - NONMECHANICAL
Phase of Operation: CRUISE

Findings
1. (C) FLUID,FUEL - EXHAUSTION
2. (C) FUEL CONSUMPTION CALCULATIONS - INACCURATE - PILOT IN COMMAND
----------

Occurrence #2: FORCED LANDING
Phase of Operation: DESCENT - EMERGENCY
----------

Occurrence #3: IN FLIGHT COLLISION WITH OBJECT
Phase of Operation: EMERGENCY DESCENT/LANDING

Findings
3. OBJECT - VEHICLE

 

Factual Information

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.

PILOT INFORMATION

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.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION 

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.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

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.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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.

 

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Private

Age:

27, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

Seatbelt

Instrument Rating(s):

None

Second Pilot Present:

No

Instructor Rating(s):

None

Toxicology Performed:

Yes

Medical Certification:

Class 3 Valid Medical--w/ waivers/lim.

Last FAA Medical Exam:

03/08/1998

Occupational Pilot:

 

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

 

Flight Time:

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

Aircraft Make:

Cessna

Registration:

N93784

Model/Series:

152 152

Aircraft Category:

Airplane

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Normal

Serial Number:

15285550

Landing Gear Type:

Tricycle

Seats:

2

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

01/07/1998, Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

1670 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

96 Hours

Engines:

1 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

6832 Hours

Engine Manufacturer:

Lycoming

ELT:

Installed

Engine Model/Series:

O-235-L2C

Registered Owner:

SCHMIDT AQUISITIONS CORP.

Rated Power:

110 hp

Operator:

SCHMIDT AQUISITIONS CORP.

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

None

Operator Does Business As:

SCHMIDT AVIATION

Operator Designator Code:

 

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Instrument Conditions

Condition of Light:

Night/Dark

Observation Facility, Elevation:

LUK, 434 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

9 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

2250 EDT

Direction from Accident Site:

190°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

Scattered / 4700 ft agl

Visibility

2.5 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

None / 0 ft agl

Visibility (RVR):

0 ft

Wind Speed/Gusts:

Calm /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

Variable

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

21°C / 21°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

 

Departure Point:

TERRE HAUTE, IN (HUF)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

None

Destination:

 (ISZ)

Type of Clearance:

VFR

Departure Time:

2125 EDT

Type of Airspace:

Class G

 

Airport Information

Airport:

BLUE ASH AIRPORT (ISZ)

Runway Surface Type:

Asphalt

Airport Elevation:

856 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Dry

Runway Used:

6

IFR Approach:

None

Runway Length/Width:

3500 ft / 75 ft

VFR Approach/Landing:

Forced Landing; Straight-in

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage:

Destroyed

Passenger Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

2 Fatal

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

3 Fatal

Latitude, Longitude:

 

 


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

BRIAN      C RAYNER

Report Date:

09/07/2000

Additional Participating Persons:

STAN P FASKE; CINCINNATI, OH

SETH   BUTTNER; WICHITA, KS

GREGORY   ERIKSON; WAYNE, IL

Publish Date:

 

Investigation Docket:

NTSB accident and incident dockets serve as permanent archival information for the NTSB’s investigations. Dockets released prior to June 1, 2009 are publicly available from the NTSB’s Record Management Division at pubinq@ntsb.gov, or at 800-877-6799. Dockets released after this date are available at http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/.