LAX97LA226
LAX97LA226

On June 28, 1997 at 1700 hours mountain standard time, a Cessna 182C, N5158U, sustained substantial damage after colliding with a dirt berm and a fence during a forced landing near Rimrock, Arizona. The private pilot received serious injuries and his two passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was being operated as a personal flight when the accident occurred. The flight originated in Flagstaff, Arizona, at an undetermined time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no plan was filed.

Several witnesses reported that while the pilot was attempting to land at the Rimrock airport, the wind was gusting and the pilot aborted the landing attempt and performed a go-around maneuver. After power was added for the go-around, the engine "sputtered" and then quit. The pilot kept the airplane on a direct heading from the airport and touched down in a field. During the landing roll the airplane collided with a berm and a fence.

One of the owners of the aircraft stated in a telephone conversation that he had fueled the aircraft in Kingman, Arizona, 3 days prior to the aircraft accident. He stated that he had added a total of 47.5 gallons of autofuel to the three tanks. The airplane had been issued an STC for the use of autogas. The fuel capacity of the right wing was 27.5 gallons of useable fuel. According to the pilot's operating manual for this aircraft under the section entitled "Auxiliary fuel system operation," it instructs the pilot to takeoff, climb, and land with the fuel selector valve in the "BOTH ON" position. After leveling off at cruise altitude, it instructs the pilot to switch to "RIGHT TANK" position and operate from this tank until the fuel supply is exhausted. Then the pilot is instructed to switch to "LEFT TANK" position for operation. Following this, fuel is transferred from the auxiliary fuselage fuel tank to the right wing main tank via a transfer pump.

An airworthiness Inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the aircraft accident scene at the request of the NTSB. Upon examining the wreckage, the inspector reported that he found the left fuel tank almost full and the auxiliary tank had fuel in it, however, it was leaking out of the tank. He further noted that the right fuel tank contained no fuel, and furthermore that there were no signs of fuel spillage under the right fuel tank. The fuel selector was found in the right position with no signs of damage. The inspector established control continuity to the flight controls at the scene. The aircraft was removed to a storage facility in Phoenix, Arizona, for further examination.

The airplane was examined on August 8, 1997, with the assistance of a technical representative from Teledyne Continental Motors. According to the report of the examination, the engine rotated freely, with accessory gear train and valve action continuity established. Compression was noted on all six cylinders and both magneto's produced sparks.

The FAA inspector interviewed the pilot on July 22, 1997. The pilot stated that it was "normal practice to run on the right fuel tank to allow the tank to drain down enough so the fuel in the Aux tank could be pumped into the right." The pilot told the inspector that he "estimated that the aircraft had approximately 2.5 hours of flight time on the right tank before the accident."

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