NTSB Identification: WPR12LA373
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 27, 2012 in Alturas, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA P210, registration: C-GFCK
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.
The pilot was making an approach for landing to runway 21 when he noticed that the wind was favoring runway 03. He executed a go-around and maneuvered to approach runway 03 for landing. During the approach to runway 03, he decided that he was too high to make a safe landing, and he executed another go-around. The pilot described the airplane's climb performance as “sluggish.” The pilot raised the flaps when the airplane was between 600 and 800 feet above ground level, and, shortly after, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot did not attempt to turn on the auxiliary fuel pump, switch fuel tanks, or adjust the mixture; he stated that the fuel selector was in the “both” position. The pilot executed a forced landing on a nearby highway, which resulted in damage to the right wing and left horizontal stabilizer. During the airplane’s recovery, a total of 22 gallons of fuel was obtained from three of the four fuel tanks. The fourth fuel tank had been breached during the accident sequence, and recovery personnel observed fuel draining from the damaged tank. The postaccident engine examination revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The airplane was climbing in conditions conducive to fuel vapor formation. According to the Pilot's Operating Handbook, when such conditions exist, it may be necessary to use the auxiliary fuel pump to attain or stabilize the fuel flow required for the type of climb being performed.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of engine power due to fuel vaporization. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to use the auxiliary fuel pump when he noticed a degradation in the airplane’s climb performance.
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