On September 2, 1996, at 1859 hours mountain standard time, a Cessna 210L, N99NV, made a forced landing on Loop 101 about 2 miles northeast of the Glendale Municipal Airport, Glendale, Arizona, following a loss of engine power. The aircraft sustained substantial damage; the pilot and one passenger received serious injuries. The remaining passenger received minor injuries. The aircraft was operated as a personal flight by the pilot/owner when the accident occurred. The flight originated in Salem, Oregon, at 1138 with a stopover in Mesquite, Nevada, and was en route to Chandler, Arizona. The aircraft departed Mesquite at 1652. Visual flight conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The aircraft was in cruise when the engine lost power. The pilot reported that he knew the right tank was empty and was in the process of switching tanks; however, he was unable to keep the engine running or complete a restart. He switched the fuel selector back and forth several times before his diminished altitude finally forced him to land on the southbound No. 3 lane of Loop 101. The aircraft came to rest at mile post 8 near at the Northern Avenue overpass.

In his statement, the pilot said that before completing his forced landing, his rear seat passenger grabbed both him and his wife to prevent them from striking the windscreen. He attributed his resulting hard landing to this event and stated that he would have been able to land the aircraft without sustaining damage had this event not occurred. He said he had not realized this had occurred at the time of the accident, but became aware only after the event was related to him by his passenger.

The pilot told Department of Safety officers that at he noticed a car on the road ahead of him as he was landing. He pulled up to slow the aircraft and avoid the car but in the process lost airspeed, stalled, and collided with the roadway.

The two front seat occupants reportedly received compression fractures to their lumbar vertebrae while the rear seat passenger received abrasions and contusions. All three persons onboard were hearing and speech impaired.

The tricycle landing gear was splayed outward with rippling to the engine firewall. One wing tip was found to have separated.

An airframe and powerplant mechanic from Glendale Aviation was asked by the engine manufacturer to assess the aircraft fuel system. He reported that after leveling the aircraft, the left fuel gauge read "0" gallons fuel while the right gauge read "10" gallons or 1/4 tank. He drained 6.0 gallons of fuel from the left tank and 2.5 gallons from the right tank. After the fuel was drained, the left fuel gauge read "0" gallons of fuel while the right gauge read 1 gallon. A representative of the aircraft manufacturer stated that the total fuel capacity of the aircraft is 90 gallons or 45 gallons in each of the two wing tanks. That amount includes 1.5 gallons of fuel in each tank that is unusable.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported that the fuel selector handle was found positioned on the right main tank.

The engine and fuel systems were inspected by an FAA airworthiness inspector and representatives of the aircraft and engine manufacturer. The aircraft propeller was removed and replaced with a four-bladed wooden test club, the fuel selector was positioned on the left tank and the engine was started. The engine responded to throttle changes and the engine instruments showed normal indications during the 2 minute test run.

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