On May 31, 1999, at 1040 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna P210N, N37MJ, collided with terrain following a nonmechanical loss of engine power while on approach to runway 16R at Reno, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The private pilot/owner, who was occupying the left seat, received minor injuries. The certified flight instructor who was occupying the right seat and serving as a safety pilot sustained serious injuries. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. The flight originated at Reno airport at 0950, and the purpose of the local flight was to provide instrument instruction to the aircraft owner.

In a review of the recorded air-ground communications tapes, the pilot announced to the Reno ATCT local controller at 1043 "Mayday, out of fuel." In a subsequent telephone interview with the pilot, he told Safety Board investigators that he had flown from Yerington Municipal Airport to Reno to pickup his certified flight instructor. The pilot said he was in the final stages of preparing for his instrument flight rules check ride. Prior to the accident, they had practiced holding patterns, a VOR approach, and one ILS approach. They were on their second ILS approach when the engine suddenly quit. The pilot said he took off his foggles, looked at the right fuel gage, which read empty, and switched the selector to the left tank. The pilot was unable to effect a restart and the aircraft touched down about 1 mile short of the runway.

A Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector from the Reno, Nevada, Flight Standards District Office responded to the accident site. He determined that the responding airport fire department units had turned the fuel selector from the left tank to the off position. Examination of the fuel system disclosed that it was intact. Two ounces of fuel were drained from the right wing tank and 13 ounces from the right reservoir tank. The left fuel tank contained about 25 gallons of fuel and the left reservoir tank had 65 ounces.

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