National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report




Bartow, FL

Accident Number:


Date & Time:

07/11/2016, 1100 EDT





Aircraft Damage:


Defining Event:

Fuel starvation


1 Minor

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 91: General Aviation - Aerial Observation



The commercial pilot climbed the multiengine airplane to 13,500 ft mean sea level and performed a 2-hour aerial photography flight before descending and returning to the departure airport. As the pilot maneuvered the airplane in the traffic pattern for landing, the right engine lost power, and then the left engine lost power. The pilot concluded that the airplane would not reach the airport, so he chose swampy terrain for a forced landing, during which the wings, fuselage, and tail section sustained substantial damage.

Postaccident examination of the airplane and its engines revealed no preimpact mechanical anomalies that would have prevented normal operation. Both fuel selector handles were found in the "auxiliary" position. According to the airplane manufacturer's owner's manual, the first step in the Before Landing checklist was to move each fuel selector to the "main" position. Further, the auxiliary fuel system description stated, "Since the auxiliary fuel tanks are designed for cruising flight, they are not equipped with pumps and operation near the ground (below 1,000 ft [above ground level]), using auxiliary fuel tanks is not recommended." The pilot's failure to move the fuel selectors to the "main" position in accordance with the Before Landing checklist likely led to fuel starvation to both engines and their subsequent loss of power.


Probable Cause and Findings

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

The pilot's failure to move the fuel selectors to the "main" position in accordance with the Before Landing checklist, which resulted in fuel starvation and the total loss of power of both engines.




Fuel - Fluid management (Cause)

Personnel issues

Use of checklist - Pilot (Cause)

Use of equip/system - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information


On July 11, 2016, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 310Q, N100CP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Bartow, Florida. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local aerial photography flight that departed from Bartow Municipal Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida, at 0845. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the preflight inspection of the airplane revealed no anomalies; the fuel tanks were full, and no water or contaminants were visible in the fuel samples taken.

The engine run-up, takeoff, and climb to 13,500 feet mean sea level (msl) were "normal," and the cruise power setting was 27" of manifold pressure at 2,200 rpm for the flight. After 2 hours, the pilot descended for landing at BOW. The airplane entered the traffic pattern, and as the left turn onto the base leg of the traffic pattern was completed, the right engine lost power.

The pilot confirmed there was "available fuel," turned toward the runway threshold, and "recognized" that the left engine was also no longer producing power.

The pilot concluded that the airplane would not reach the airport, selected a forced landing area, and completed the forced landing to swampy terrain.

A Federal Aviation Inspector (FAA) inspector noted that the airplane came to rest in knee-deep water about 1 mile northwest of the airport. The airplane came to rest upright and there was substantial damage to the wings, empennage, and tail section. The inspector further noted that neither propeller appeared to be feathered, the right engine propeller blades appeared to be bent aft, and the left engine propeller blades were straight.

Both fuel selector valve handles were found in the Auxiliary position. Examination of the auxiliary fuel tanks revealed an odor of fuel, but each tank appeared empty. Due to the swampy terrain conditions, the airplane could not be further examined on site, and was moved to a secure storage facility. During recovery of the airplane, it was noted that the fuel tanks on the right side of the airplane were damaged and voided by impact. The main tip tank was separated from the left wing, and several gallons of fuel were drained from the auxiliary left wing and the left wing-locker tank. A Shadin Fuel Flow Indicator was recovered from the instrument panel and retained for examination.

A detailed examination of the airplane revealed control continuity from the flight controls to the flight control surfaces, and from the engine controls to each engine. A detailed examination of each engine revealed there were no anomalies that would have prevented normal operation.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land and instrument airplane. He was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on July 1, 2016. The pilot reported 5,107 total hours of flight experience, of which 219 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed February 1, 2016, at 6637.6 total aircraft hours.

At 1315, the weather reported at BOW included few clouds at 2,500 feet and variable winds at 4 knots. The temperature was 31° C, dewpoint was 21° C, and the altimeter setting was 30.13 inches of mercury.

Interpolation of performance charts in the manufacturer's owner's manual revealed that the fuel consumption rate for the airplane was an estimated 27 gallons per hour at the power settings reported by the pilot.

The Shadin Fuel Flow Indicator was a digital fuel management system designed to provide fuel management information under real-time flight conditions to the flight crew. The unit was connected to engine fuel flow transducers. The unit was capable of transmitting fuel information to certain GPS receivers for additional calculations and display of fuel management data. The unit can display engine fuel flow, fuel used, fuel remaining, and endurance. The unit does not interface with an aircraft's fuel quantity indicating system. The unit required the flight crew to enter the initial fuel on board the airplane. All calculations and data provided by the unit were based on fuel flow. Between power cycles, the unit retained the last fuel used and fuel remaining.

When examined in the NTSB Recorders Laboratory, the unit displayed 62.3 gallons used, and 115 gallons remaining, which was consistent with the duration and profile of the accident flight as reported by the pilot.

According to the Cessna 310 Owner's Manual:


Fuel Selectors – Left Engine – Left Main (feel for detent)
Right Engine – Right Main (feel for detent)


"Since the auxiliary fuel tanks are designed for cruising flight, they are not equipped with pumps and operation near the ground (below 1000 feet AGL) using auxiliary fuel tanks is not recommended."



History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern downwind

Fuel starvation (Defining event)


Loss of engine power (total)

Emergency descent

Off-field or emergency landing



Pilot Information


Flight Instructor; Commercial


52, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land

Seat Occupied:


Other Aircraft Rating(s):


Restraint Used:


Instrument Rating(s):


Second Pilot Present:


Instructor Rating(s):

Airplane Single-engine

Toxicology Performed:


Medical Certification:

Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:


Occupational Pilot:


Last Flight Review or Equivalent:


Flight Time:

5107 hours (Total, all aircraft), 219 hours (Total, this make and model), 13 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:





310 Q

Aircraft Category:


Year of Manufacture:


Amateur Built:


Airworthiness Certificate:


Serial Number:


Landing Gear Type:

Retractable - Tricycle



Date/Type of Last Inspection:

02/01/2016, Annual

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

5302 lbs

Time Since Last Inspection:

121 Hours


2 Reciprocating

Airframe Total Time:

6637 Hours as of last inspection

Engine Manufacturer:




Engine Model/Series:


Registered Owner:

On file

Rated Power:

280 hp


On file

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

On-demand Air Taxi (135)


Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:


Observation Facility, Elevation:

BOW, 125 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

1 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

1547 UTC

Direction from Accident Site:


Lowest Cloud Condition:

Few / 2500 ft agl


10 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:


Visibility (RVR):


Wind Speed/Gusts:

Light and Variable /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/ None

Wind Direction:


Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/ N/A

Altimeter Setting:

30.13 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

31°C / 21°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Bartow, FL (BOW)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:



Bartow, FL (BOW)

Type of Clearance:


Departure Time:

0845 EDT

Type of Airspace:

Class D


Airport Information


Bartow Municipal (BOW)

Runway Surface Type:


Airport Elevation:

124 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

Vegetation; Water--calm

Runway Used:


IFR Approach:


Runway Length/Width:

5000 ft / 150 ft

VFR Approach/Landing:

Forced Landing; Traffic Pattern


Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Minor

Aircraft Damage:


Passenger Injuries:


Aircraft Fire:


Ground Injuries:


Aircraft Explosion:


Total Injuries:

1 Minor

Latitude, Longitude:

27.943333, -81.783333 (est)



Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Brian C Rayner

Report Date:


Additional Participating Persons:

Lawrence Hammerbeck; FAA/FSDO; Orlando, FL

Andrew Hall; Textron Aviation; Wichita, KS

Kurt Gibson; Continental Motors; Mobile, AL

Publish Date:



The NTSB did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Investigation Docket: