On August 13, 1993, at 20:15 Alaska daylight time, a wheel- equipped Cessna A185F airplane, N20752, operating for Cape Smythe Air Service of Barrow, Alaska, experienced fuel exhaustion and the commercial pilot made a forced landing on the tundra. The accident location was approximately 53 miles southeast of Barrow. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The flight was positioning under 14 CFR Part 91, following a Part 135 on-demand charter. Visual meteorological conditions existed and a VFR flight plan was on file. The pilot, as sole occupant, was not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage.
The pilot told investigators that he was returning from an on- demand flight to a fish camp 53 miles from Barrow, having flown three legs, for about 1.6 hours on 70 gallons of fuel. He said that he executed an abrupt pull-up from 600 feet to 1100 feet, bleeding the airspeed to 70 knots when the engine quit, and would not restart. The restart procedures included a switch to the right tank, fuel boost pump, rich mixtures and starter engagement.
FAA airworthiness and operations inspectors examined the aircraft and found no mechanical anomalies or fuel system water or debris.
Residual fuel only was found in the tanks. The airplane was found resting on the left wing tip, having sheared the left main gear spring from the fuselage housing. Fuel spillage was measured to be an eighteen inch puddle in water filled tundra, beneath the left outboard overboard tank vent.
When the airplane was jacked and shored to an upright and level flight position, the engine started and ran normally without interruption of power.
No records were available to quantify the fuel uploaded in the the operator's airplanes. The operator stated that no such records were kept. The FAA inspector told the NTSB that FAA regulations did not require records to be kept of fueling at the operation. Company management also told investigators that he could not determine the departure time of the flight because those records were not kept on that particular flight.
The flight originated at Barrow as a 14 CFR Part 135 on-demand air carrier flight and was returning under 14 CFR Part 91. Insofar as the flight was operating on the outbound leg under the requirements of Part 135, the certificate holder was required to keep on file "at least the information required to be included in a VFR flight plan." (Part 135.79) Pertinent information would have included fuel on board, time of departure and estimated time of arrival.