NTSB Identification: ERA12LA543
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 02, 2012 in Tillatoba, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA T210M, registration: N761YN
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

When the pilot planned the long cross-country flight, he told flight service personnel that he expected to have to deviate due to thunderstorms. The pilot further stated that he would stop short of the destination airport if he could not safely navigate around thunderstorm cells. About 5 hours into the flight, the pilot notified an air traffic controller that he was going to deviate to a nearby alternate airport, which was in clear weather conditions. As a result, flight-following services were terminated when the airplane was about 10 miles from the alternate airport. According to global positioning system (GPS) data and a witness on the ground, the airplane flew safely over the alternate airport and circled; however, rather than land, the airplane continued to fly toward the original planned destination. About 10 minutes later, GPS data showed that the airplane reversed its course toward the alternate airport. The airplane’s engine subsequently lost total engine power and the airplane collided with trees during the ensuing forced landing. The pilot reported that he was unable to recall the accident sequence because of accident-related injuries.

Postaccident examination of the engine, which included a successful test-run, did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. At the time of the accident, the airplane had flown 5 hours 28 minutes without refueling. According to the pilot’s operating handbook for the accident airplane, the airplane's endurance at 70% power was about 5 hours 10 minutes, not accounting for fuel used during engine start, taxi, takeoff, or climb.

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

The pilot's improper fuel management and his decision to continue flight in deteriorating weather conditions with low fuel, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Full narrative available

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