NTSB Identification: LAX06FA113.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, February 12, 2006 in Long Beach, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 210M, registration: N6895B
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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.

The airplane collided with shipping containers while attempting to make a precautionary landing at a pier due to a pilot perceived low fuel state. The pilot passed away several months after the accident and was never able to provide a statement. A witness, who saw the crash and responded to the site to render aid, asked the pilot what had happened. The pilot told the witness that he was trying to land due to low fuel state. First responders observed large amounts of fuel leaking out of the damaged wing tanks and from the lower forward fuselage where the header tanks and fuel lines are located. Fuel was still leaking from the airplane when Safety Board investigators arrived 2 hours after the accident. The airframe and engine were examined with no mechanical anomalies noted that would have precluded normal operation. Investigators were not able to establish at what time the pilot departed from Compton or when the pilot had last refueled the airplane. Investigators found that the alternator circuit breaker was tripped. An alternator was found in the wreckage of the cabin and examination revealed that it had a shorted internal diode. The alternator attached to the engine was missing the grounding post and the associated ground wire. The ground strap between the engine and the airframe had been disconnected, with the disconnected end weathered and worn. The airplane manufacturer's technical representative indicated that the fuel level for this airplane is sensed from a variable resistance float assembly that can indicate lower fuel levels than actual as the electrical system voltage drops. Due to the poor condition of the alternator, it is highly likely that the battery was discharging and the voltage level dropping. If that were the case, then the variable resistance float assembly for the fuel gage level would have started to show a lower than expected fuel level indication inside the cockpit leading the pilot to believe that the airplane was experiencing a low fuel state situation. Only partial maintenance records were recovered and the recent maintenance that may have been performed, if any, on the electrical system could not be determined.

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

an erroneous low fuel quantity indication that led the pilot to attempt a precautionary landing in a congested and less than ideal location. The erroneous fuel level indication was due to multiple anomalies with the alternator installation that precipitated a low system voltage and adversely affected the accuracy of the fuel indicating system. The alternator anomalies were the result of inadequate maintenance by unknown persons or institutions.

Full narrative available

Index for Feb2006 | Index of months