On April 3, 1999, about 1600 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 172XP, N2743V, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field at Ramapo, New York. The student pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated from the Columbia County Airport (1B1), Hudson, New York; destined for Greenwood Lake Airport (4N1), West Milford, New Jersey. No flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that he noticed a decrease in fuel pressure, while in cruise flight. Because his airplane drew more fuel from the left tank, he moved the fuel selector from "BOTH" to "RIGHT" and noticed an increase in fuel pressure. Several minutes later, the fuel pressure began to decrease again. The pilot moved the fuel selector from "RIGHT" to "LEFT", and the engine lost all power. The pilot made a forced landing to a field, approximately 6 miles east of 4N1.
The pilot stated that according to his calculations, the airplane should have had approximately 90 minutes of fuel remaining when the engine lost all power. The airplane held 52 gallons of useable fuel, and it was "topped off" on Thursday, April 1, 1999. In cruise flight, he leaned the mixture to obtain an indicated 10 gallon-per-hour (GPH) fuel consumption rate. He and his instructor flew the airplane 2 hours on Thursday, April 1, 1999, according to the tachometer. The pilot did not refuel the airplane, and flew 2 hours on Saturday, according to the tachometer, before the engine lost power. He stated that the airplane should have consumed approximately 40 gallons of fuel. When asked about the indicated GPH during takeoff and climb, the student could not remember the figure. He stated that he made three takeoffs between the time the airplane was fueled and the forced landing. The pilot was questioned about the accuracy of tachometer time. He stated that his tachometer and Hobbs meter "are very close."
On the day of the accident, the certified flight instructor was not present to review the student pilot's preflight planning, nor did he endorse the student's logbook for the solo cross country flight.
14 CFR Part 61.93 (C) (2) (ii) states: "For each cross-country flight, the authorized instructor who reviews the cross-country planning must make and endorsement in the person's logbook after reviewing that person's cross-country planning..."
Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector revealed no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. The wreckage was re-examined by Safety Board personnel and a FAA Inspector. Approximately 1 ounce of residual fuel was recovered from the fuel system. The fuel was bright, clear, similar in odor and color to 100 low lead aviation fuel, and contained no visible contamination. Further examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of fuel leaks, nor any evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunctions.
Placards on the wreckage confirmed that the airplane held 52 gallons of useable fuel. A copy of the fuel records revealed the pilot purchased 48.1 gallons of fuel on January 27, 1999; 45.5 gallons on March 3, 1999; and 48.4 gallons March 18, 1999.
14 CFR Part 91.151 states: "No person may begin a flight in an airplane under VFR conditions unless there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed-(1) During the day, to fly after that for at least 30 minutes."
A Cessna Hawk XP Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) stated "Add 1.4 gallons of fuel for engine start, taxi and takeoff allowance." A review of the Time, Fuel, and Distance to Climb chart in the POH revealed that at a gross weight of 2,550 pounds, on a standard day, the engine would burn 1.0 gallon of fuel as the airplane climbed from sea level to 3,000 feet.
Several days after the accident, the pilot stated that he subsequently reviewed the fuel calculations with the owner of the fixed based operator. He said that he did not account for fuel consumption during the three takeoffs and climbs.