NTSB Identification: LAX01FA007.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 09, 2000 in PHOENIX, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/28/2002
Aircraft: Cessna P210N, registration: N888MM
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While on final approach, low, and configured to land, the engine lost all power. The pilot attempted to land in a field and collided with power lines. After returning from Mexico, and reentering the United States at a port of entry, the flight proceeded to the destination airport. Upon arrival the tower advised the pilot to hold for landing sequence, and was cleared to land after about 5 minutes of holding. The ATCT controllers observed the airplane turn left and descend steeply out of sight. Fuel was not available at the Mexico location and not purchased at the port of entry. According to a recovered trip log of seven previous trips, an average similar trip took 3.5 hours as recorded from the mechanical recording tachometer. The average fuel quantity used per round trip was 68.5 gallons. The highest recorded fuel used was 72.6 gallons. The longest round trip time was 3.7 hours. The lowest fuel quantity used was 65.1 gallons. The average fuel burn rate was 19.57 gallons per hour. The average number of gallons remaining at Deer Valley airport was 20.5 plus or minus 5 gallons. The actual fuel quantity could not be determined. The airplane has a two-tank system of 44.5 gallons of usable fuel in each tank, when properly serviced. The fuel selector was found in the off position, possibly a reaction to the emergency. The selector provides fuel from either the left or right fuel tank, but not both simultaneously. The postaccident fire destroyed the left wing and part of the right wing root; no fuel was found in the tank system. Cessna pilot safety and warning supplements were recovered from the wreckage. According to the information, if the fuel tank outlet is uncovered, by fuel, fuel flow to the engine may be interrupted and a temporary loss of power might result. A note in the pilot information manual for the fuel system states that "unusable fuel is at a minimum due to the design of the fuel system. However, when the fuel tanks are 1/4 full or less, prolonged uncoordinated flight such as slips or skids can uncover the fuel tank outlets, causing fuel starvation and engine stoppage. Therefore, with low fuel reserves, do not allow the airplane to remain in uncoordinated flight for periods in excess of one minute."

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

The failure of the pilot to operate the airplane according to the flight manual, resulting in fuel starvation and loss of engine power during a critical phase of flight. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing and the presence of utility lines at the forced landing site.

Full narrative available

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