NTSB Identification: LAX05LA033.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 12, 2004 in Apple Valley, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 210, registration: N5LT
Injuries: 2 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 engine lost power on final approach and the airplane's nose landing gear struck a chain link fence about 1,000 feet from the approach end of the runway. The pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to both look at the progress of work at a construction site and to perform a post maintenance test flight following maintenance on the landing gear. He said he conducted a thorough preflight inspection that included checking the fuel for water contamination. In the pilot's written statement he reported that 18 gallons of fuel was in the left fuel tank and 12 gallons of fuel was in the right fuel tank; however, he did not describe how he determined the amount of fuel. During the hour-long flight, the pilot maneuvered the airplane around the construction site at 6,500 feet mean sea level (msl), and as he returned to the airport he switched to the right fuel tank, and cycled the gear several times. After entering the airport environment, the pilot did two touch-and-go takeoffs and landings. During the third touch-and-go landing, the runway direction was switched due to a wind shift. After takeoff, the pilot exited the pattern and climbed to 5,500 feet msl to set up for a full stop landing. A slower airplane was landing in front of him, and he slowed his airplane down to follow it while he conducted the before landing checklist, which included switching to the fullest fuel tank (right). The slower airplane turned base, and the pilot extended his pattern to allow for adequate spacing for landing. While on final approach with the airplane configured at an airspeed of 80 knots, he added another 10 degrees of flaps (for a total of 20 degrees flaps down), and reduced the power. He noted that the airplane was sinking and attempted to apply power to maintain the airplane's glide path. The pilot observed that the engine was not generating power, pulled back on the yoke to stop the descent rate, and switched to the left fuel tank. He advanced the throttle full forward, with no response from the engine, and switched back to the right fuel tank. The pilot set up for an off-airport forced landing and was in the flare when the nose landing gear struck a fence. A sheriff's deputy arrived on-scene, and noted no sound of liquid in the fuel tanks when he moved the wings, an indication that the fuel tanks were empty. He did observe a trickle of fuel near the wing roots. A Federal Aviation Administration principal maintenance inspector recovered a total of 7.5 gallons of fuel from the right fuel tank and 1.5 gallons of fuel from the left fuel tank. According to the airplane manufacturer, the airplane holds 32.5 gallons of fuel in each wing, with 5 gallons of fuel per wing unusable in normal flight maneuvers. At 2,500 feet msl, with 2,450 rpm's (revolutions per minute), fuel burn is 14.2 gallons of fuel per hour. At a gross weight of 2,900 pounds on a standard day the fuel used during the takeoff and climb is 2.0 gallons.

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

loss of engine power due to fuel starvation/exhaustion, which was a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and failure to ensure there was enough fuel onboard for the flight.

Full narrative available

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