NTSB Identification: CHI02LA188.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 11, 2002 in Jackson, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 310R, registration: N5061J
Injuries: 4 Minor.

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 twin-engine airplane departed control flight and impacted the terrain during a landing attempt. The pilot reported that while landing the airplane experienced an uncommanded right roll after he advanced engine power to arrest the airplane's descent rate. The pilot attempted a go-around by adding engine power; however, this exacerbated the airplane's right turning tendency. The pilot reported he reduced power on both engines, and attempted to bring the airplane back to a level attitude using left rudder and aileron. The airplane impacted the terrain in a right wing down, nose low attitude. No anomalies were found with the flight control system during the post-accident examination. Inspection of the propellers indicate at impact the left engine was producing significantly more power than the right engine. The right engine was test run and no anomalies were noted with its operation. All four fuel tanks were found damaged and/or ruptured, which prevented the post-accident determination of the fuel quantity and its distribution. The airplane was fully fueled (163 gallons) prior to departing on the 2.5 hour flight. The pilot reported he used the auxiliary fuel tanks during cruise flight, but did not recall if he had switched back to the main fuel tanks prior to landing. The pilot said that "as a habit" he would have normally switched back to the main tanks. The pilot reportedly turned the fuel selectors to the off position after the accident. The flight's total fuel burn was approximately 75 gallons, based on an average fuel burn of 30 gallons/hour. Although the auxiliary tanks hold a total of 63 gallons of fuel, pilots should only expect one hour of operation from the tanks because the engine recovery fuel is returned to the main tanks, not the auxiliary tanks. The engine manufacturer reports up to 31.66 gallons/hour of fuel is recovered into the two main tanks. The Cessna 310R Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) recommends the engines be operated on their respective main tanks for the first 90 minutes of a flight, as to allow ample space in the tanks to accept the recovery fuel from operating on the auxiliary tanks. The POH specifically states that all takeoffs and landings should be made with the fuel selectors positioned on their respective main fuel tanks.

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

The pilot's improper management of the fuel system, including his failure to reposition the fuel selectors to the main fuel tanks prior to landing, as directed in the pilot operating handbook. Additional causes to the accident were the pilot not maintaining aircraft control during the engine failure and his delayed remedial action to the encountered uncommanded roll (VMC roll). A factor to the accident was the loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

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