On August 6, 1997, about 1943 eastern daylight time, a Cessna A150L, N23JR, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Waynesburg, about 1940, destined for Morgantown, West Virginia. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, and during interviews with the Pennsylvania State Police and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, the pilot stated that he departed Cortland, New York, destined for Parkersburg, West Virginia. After about 3 hours of flight, the airplane's fuel quantity was low, and the pilot landed at Waynesburg (WAY) for fuel. The fuel pumps at WAY were closed, and the pilot decided to fly to Morgantown for fuel. The pilot stated that after engine start, the engine run-up were normal, and he departed with the left fuel gauge reading 1/8, and right fuel gauge reading 1/4.
After takeoff, about 300 feet above the ground, the engine lost power. The pilot completed a right 180 degree turn back to the airport. After the turn, the airplane touched down in a field, ballooned, then continued onto a road where it struck road signs and nosed over.
According to a witness, he heard an airplane and looked up. The witness stated:
"...noticed the plane flying low. I assumed he would be landing at the Waynesburg Airport. I then heard the engine bog out. I thought the pilot might be gliding the plane in; but, the plane stalled momentarily in the air...The nose was upward. He made a sharp turn and was coming down...He was out of sight when I heard the crash..."
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, examination of the airplane revealed "some" fuel in the fuel lines, carburetor, and filter. A small quantity of fuel was observed in the airplane's wing tanks. According to the airplane log and Hobbs meter, the airplane had been operated for about 3.1 hours since it departed Cortland. Examination of the carburetor heat box revealed that the control rod to the butterfly had previously been repaired, and the control rod was separated from the butterfly.
The pilot stated to the Pennsylvania State Police Officer that the airplane's fuel tanks held enough fuel for 5 to 5 1/2 hours of flight.
According to the Cessna Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), the airplane's total fuel capacity was 25 gallons, of which 3.5 gallons was unusable. The POH cruise performance chart displayed estimated fuel duration, for a lean mixture, and a standard temperature of 59 degrees F. At 2,500 feet pressure altitude, the hours of endurance ranged from 3.9 hours at 77% power, to 3.2 hours at 92% power. A note at the bottom of the chart stated that the calculations provided no allowances for takeoffs or reserve. The Operational Data page of the POH also stated that allowances for fuel reserve, headwinds, takeoffs and climb, temperature, and variations in mixture leaning technique are not shown in the chart.
It further stated that:
"...Other indeterminate variables such as carburetor metering characteristics, engine and propeller conditions, and turbulence of the atmosphere may account for variations of 10% or more..."
According to the Cessna Pilot Safety and Warning Supplements:
"...The use of full Carburetor heat at full throttle usually results in a 1 to 2 inch loss of manifold pressure or a loss of approximately 150 RPM...Furthermore, the pilot should remember that any application or removal of carburetor hat during cruise flight will call for an appropriate adjustment of the mixture..."
A review of the Cessna Maintenance Manuals revealed that the fuel outlet lines from the fuel tanks to the engine were located at the front of each tank.
After the accident, a witness heard the pilot state that he ran out of fuel.