NTSB Identification: LAX02LA055.
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Accident occurred Monday, December 24, 2001 in SANTA ROSA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna T210M, registration: N1309M
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane collided with power lines and landed in a vineyard about 1 mile south of Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, California, during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot noted about 20 gallons of fuel in the left tank and 15 gallons in the right tank during preflight. He flew from Petaluma, California, to Lakeport, California. The pilot was cruising at 5,500 feet on the return to Petaluma and began a descent when he was abeam Santa Rosa. He was well past Santa Rosa when the engine began to run rough; the right fuel gauge indicated 5 to 7 gallons. He switched from the right tank to the left tank, which now indicated 10 to 15 gallons, and the engine ran smoother. He continued toward Petaluma at an altitude of 3,000 feet, but could not visually acquire the airport's rotating beacon. He tried to activate the pilot controlled runway lights, but still could not visually identify the airport. He decided to fly back to Sonoma County Airport. He lost and regained power five times as he headed to Sonoma County Airport. The Air Traffic Control Tower advised him that a vineyard was south of the airport. The pilot could not see the landing area because of the darkness, but headed toward the dark field. He contacted power lines just prior to touchdown, but landed upright in the vineyard. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. The recovery agent did not observe any fuel in either tank, and no fuel drained out of the fuel lines when they were disconnected during disassembly for transport.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight and in-flight planning/decision resulting in miscalculation of fuel consumption, fuel exhaustion and loss of engine power. Factors were rough terrain in a vineyard, power lines in the landing area, and night time.

Full narrative available

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