NTSB Identification: LAX05CA030.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 10, 2004 in Rancho Cordova, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/24/2005
Aircraft: Cessna P210N, registration: N6416W
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Following a loss of engine power, the pilot made a forced landing on a street about 1.2 miles from the airport, and collided with trees and the center median. A responding law enforcement officer, who was also a pilot, examined the fuel tanks on scene. Virtually no usable fuel was found. The main fuel tanks were "bone dry," and only 1.75 gallons were found in the left tip tank. The pilot planed the nearly 6-hour-long flight as a nonstop between south eastern New Mexico and northern California. About 4 hours into the flight, with 2 hours left to go, the airplane experienced electrical malfunctions, which resulted in losing all generated alternator power. The airplane's master electrical switch was turned off to conserve residual battery power. The pilot decided to complete the nighttime flight to his original destination without operative navigation lights or any of the electrically driven instruments even though he passed over numerous airports during this time. Occasionally during the latter portion of the flight, the master switch was turned on in order to provide navigation guidance information to the pilot and to ascertain the quantity of fuel remaining as indicated by the electrically driven supplemental fuel flow/quantity computer. The airplane's owner, who was a passenger, advised the pilot of his concern regarding the validity of the fuel computer's indication since electric power to it had been interrupted. The pilot relied upon the fuel quantity computer in lieu of the standard fuel quantity indicators to ascertain the amount of available fuel in the tanks.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to refuel the airplane prior to fuel exhaustion, which resulted in a loss of engine power. Contributing factors were the pilot's improper in-flight decision to continue the flight at night after experiencing the total failure of the airplane's alternators, which resulted in inaccurate supplemental fuel quantity indications, and, the pilot's reliance upon the inaccurate data for fuel remaining information. Full narrative available
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