On November 30, 1993, about 1443 hours eastern standard time, N1377W, a Mooney M20C, registered to William Klima, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The forced landing followed an in-flight loss of engine power during cruise. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight departed from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, at 0925 hours and was destined for Butler, Pennsylvania. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that he was seated in the right front seat during the flight, and that he held a certified flight instructor certificate. He stated that he departed from New Smyrna Beach with 52 gallons of fuel on board. During the flight, he switched from the right fuel tank to the left fuel tank and flew for 45 minutes. He reported that the left fuel tank "went dry", so he switched back to the right fuel tank "thinking I had about 45 minutes of gas to get to [the Washington County Airport]." According to the pilot, the engine lost partial power about 10 minutes after he switched tanks. He activated the fuel boost pump and rocked the wings, but the engine eventually lost all power. The airplane was at 3,000 feet above the ground at the time of the engine failure, and the pilot attempted to land at the Green County Airport, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The airplane impacted trees about one mile from the airport. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions.
The airplane wreckage was examined by an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector at the accident site. According to the inspector, no fuel smell or ground contamination was observed at the site. An examination of the fuel system revealed "that it was intact and the filler caps were properly attached. Further investigation of the fuel tanks, fuel strainer, and fuel lines revealed no fuel present." The inspector also reported that no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions were found with the engine, airframe, or systems.
Investigation by the FAA inspector also revealed that the airplane was filled to capacity on November 29, 1993, at New Smyrna Beach. A witness reported that the pilot flew the airplane for about 20 minutes prior to the flight to Butler, Pennsylvania. The distance between New Smyrna Beach and Butler is 709 nautical miles. The accident occurred near the Green County Airport, located 652 nautical miles from New Smyrna Beach. The total time of the accident flight was 5.5 hours. According to the aircraft flight manual performance data, the endurance of the airplane with full fuel (52 gallons) at 2,500 feet mean sea level and 75 percent power is 5.2 hours.
The FAA inspector reported that the pilot's "lack of fuel management contributed to fuel exhaustion of the aircraft."