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On July 9, 1993, a Cessna 210; N50RD, sustained substantial damage when it nosed over in a cornfield during an emergency landing. Both pilots, one a private pilot and the other an airline transport pilot, received minor injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 business flight originated from Appleton, Wisconsin about 1550 CDT. The flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions, without flight plan, and was descending to West Bend airport when the engine stopped running and a forced landing was made. The flight had departed for Appleton earlier in the day from West Bend and was returning to West Bend when the accident occurred.
The Pilot in Command (PIC) states he received a call at 0800 from West Bend Air and was asked if he could accompany the private pilot/aircraft owner to Appleton. The PIC obtained a weather briefing, filed a flight plan, and preflighted the airplane prior to the private rated pilot owner of the aircraft's arrival. The PIC states the flight to Appleton was uneventful.
The PIC waited for the aircraft owner to conduct business at Appleton and asked the owner upon his return to the plane if he would prefer to fly his airplane back to the West Bend airport. The owner's response was yes.
The aircraft owner in his pilot report stated "As we descended through 4000 feet the airplane engine stopped running. Tom told me to slow the airplane down to the best glide rate and I let the airspeed decrease to about 85 knots. Simultaneously Tom reached across me and started engine restart procedures. The engine restarted about 2500 feet, 1600 feet above the ground. We were approximately four miles from the airport and although neither one of us knew why the engine had stopped we felt confident we would make it to the airport. Suddenly the engine stopped again, this time for good. The runway was in sight but there was insufficient altitude to reach it. Tom said there was a cornfield on the right side of the airplane and a little bit behind us. I turned toward the cornfield. I suggested we keep the landing gear up because of the possibility of soft ground. Tom said it was better to put the gear down which I think he did. As we neared the landing I was on the controls and remarked that it was working just the way the book said."
Regarding predeparture activities the owner stated "As I was doing the runup I pointed to the fuel gauges and asked Tom the fuel status. The right tank was showing full and the left tank was three quarters full. The fuel tank selector was selected to the both position."
The PIC stated "Upon Mr. Darrows return from his meeting I informed him the weather was good VFR. I asked him if he would prefer to fly his airplane back to the West Bend airport. He replied "yes". He then entered the left seat of the aircraft, and I entered the right seat. He started the aircraft, and shortly thereafter pointed out that the left fuel gauge show 3/4's full, while the right showed full. He asked why the difference? I looked at the gauges and verified that they were at 3/4 left and full right and said that it wasn't unusual to see a discrepancy in two gauges."
Neither pilot opened the fuel caps to inspect fuel quantity prior to the return flight from Appleton to West Bend.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
An FAA Airworthiness Inspector inspected the aircraft after the accident. He stated he "completely drained A/C fuel system. No water. Collected Aprox. 1 quart of fuel total. Examined fuel filler caps "O" ring seals O.K. No evidence of leakage. Both fuel gauges reading zero. Added 3 gal of fuel to left tank - pressurized fuel system with boost pump - no leakage. Then started and ran engine at idle. Engine ran fine until shut off with ing. (ignition) switch."
The status of who was Pilot in Command came up during the course of the investigation. The owner of the aircraft provided documents showing a history of hiring pilots from West Bend Air, Inc. for the previous six months to the accident.
The Operation's Unit Supervisors for the FAA DuPage and Milwaukee Flight Standard District Offices, who were familiar with the circumstances of this flight operation, indicated that the hired pilot with the ATP Certificate should be designated as the Pilot in Command for this flight.
NTSB Order EA-1860, Adopted December 27, 1982 states in part regarding Pilot in Command:
The FAR define "pilot in command" as "the pilot responsible for the operation and safety of an aircraft during flight time" (Section 1.1, FAR). Under this definition. the pilot in command is not necessarily the pilot who physically operates the controls or directs the course of a given flight. Rather, the pilot in command is the pilot who possesses ultimate decisional authority for such control or direction whether or not actually exercised during the flight."
The PIC did not fill out an aircraft accident report but did provide a two page written statement of the occurrence. Flight times for the PIC in this factual report are based on the operator's estimate and FAA records.