NTSB Identification: DEN06LA059.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 11, 2006 in Fort Collins, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Cessna TR182, registration: N729SC
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.
Prior to departure, the pilot estimated the airplane's fuel tanks contained approximately 70 gallons of fuel, and he planned a usage of 50 gallons for flight. While in cruise flight at 10,500 feet, the pilot encountered light and occasional moderate turbulence. Because of the turbulence, the pilot reduced the engine power several times to slow the aircraft. At least three times during the flight, the pilot lowered the landing gear to slow the aircraft and to increase stability. While en route at an altitude of 8,500 feet, the engine lost power. The pilot noticed on the fuel gauges that the right tank appeared empty and the left tank indicated more than 1/4 tank of fuel. The pilot switched the fuel selector to the left tank and the engine regained power. The pilot then decided to land at a nearby airport to add some fuel, check the magnetos and ground run the engine before continuing to his intended destination. Approximately 9 miles from the airport, the pilot lowered the landing gear and initiated a descent to the airport's pattern altitude. During the descent, the engine "faltered and surged" 4 to 5 times. The pilot then trimmed the airplane for a 60 knot glide speed, declared an emergency on UNICOM frequency and attempted a landing to the nearest runway. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost power, and the pilot initiated a forced landing to a field. During the forced landing, the airplane contacted a fence and a berm, and the nose gear collapsed, buckling the firewall. According to the recovery personnel, less than 1 gallon of fuel was recovered from the wing tanks and airframe fuel lines. The fuel sending units were removed from the wings and functionally tested. A functional check of the sending units and cockpit fuel gauges revealed no anomalies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing factors were the pilot's improper preflight planning, the pilot's failure to refuel the airplane, and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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