NTSB Identification: CEN11CA322
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 05, 2011 in Farmersville, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 172K, registration: N46400
Injuries: 1 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.
Approximately 2 hours after departure on an aerial pipeline patrol flight, the pilot turned on the fuel transfer pump, which transfers fuel from the auxiliary baggage fuel tank to the airplane’s right wing fuel tank. The pilot reported that this was his routine and that it would take about two hours to transfer the fuel from the auxiliary tank to the wing fuel tank. The pilot added that, almost 4 hours after departure, the engine sputtered; he rocked the wings and noticed that the fuel transfer pump appeared to be off. He then started the fuel transfer again. The fuel transfer light came on; however, the airplane was too low to wait for the fuel to move to the wing fuel tank and then to the engine. So the pilot elected to perform a forced landing to a field. The airplane collided with several tree branches before impacting the ground and flipping over. During the forced landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to its right wing, aft fuselage, and top of the vertical stabilizer. The pilot also stated that sometime after he started the initial transfer of fuel the transfer pump apparently turned off and he did not notice.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's improper fuel management. Full narrative available
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