On June 20, 1998, at 1230 mountain daylight time, a Rockwell Commander 112, N1188J, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas Airport, near Las Vegas, New Mexico. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was being operated by the pilot under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for cross-country personal flight which originated from Cortez, Colorado, approximately 2 hours 30 minutes before the accident. No flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to FAA records, the pilot received his pilot's license on May 11, 1996, and he reported that he had accumulated 78 hours of flight experience by the time of the accident. According to the pilot's accident report, he was flying cross-country from Cortez to Denver and diverted south through New Mexico due to turbulence. The pilot stated that his initial time en route was 1.5 hours but, in the narrative section of the pilot's accident report he stated his departure time from Cortez was 1000 mountain daylight time, and the time of the accident was 1230 mountain daylight time, which would have made his flight time 2.5 hours. He said he lost engine power near Las Vegas, New Mexico, due to "fuel exhaustion" and made a forced landing in a field inhabited by "cows, numerous trees, and surrounded by a fence." The left wing was severed from the airplane.
According to a Textron-Lycoming representative, fuel consumption for this make and model engine running at 75% power is 10-14 gallons per hour. When the pilot landed at Cortez on June 16, 1998, he told the lineman to put 25 gallons of fuel in the airplane. The lineman reported to the Investigator-In-Charge that when he removed the fuel tank caps, "he could not see any fuel in the tanks--the fuel tanks looked very empty."
The pilot recently purchased this airplane and had received 1.3 hours of instruction in it. He had logged 6 hours of cross-country time in this make and model prior to the accident flight. The pilot reported that "this was the total of his complex aircraft flight time [aircraft that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and controllable propeller]." The pilot reported that "his fuel gauges indicated that he had fuel, so he continued to fly."