On July 22, 2000, about 1450 Eastern Daylight Time, a Lake LA-4-200, N12SF, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near the Logan County Airport (6L4), Logan, West Virginia. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight which originated at the Aiken Municipal Airport (AIK), Aiken, South Carolina. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement, the pilot said:
"On 7/22/00 at 0745 departed Orlando Executive enroute to Aiken, South Carolina (AIK). Main tank was filled for total of 40 gallons 100LL. Estimated flight time was 3 hours. Never exceeded 3,000 feet MSL enroute, arrived at 1100. Filled main tank to full taking on 35 gallons. Total engine time was 3:15 hours."
"Departed AIK at approximately 1130 enroute to Logan, West Virginia (6L4). Enroute climb to 11,000 feet MSL over mountains with descent to 5,000 feet MSL approaching Logan (utilized normalizers above 5,000 feet MSL)."
"Approximately 1-2 miles from airport, started to enter downwind for Runway 24 when engine quit. Attempted to make airport straight in for Runway 6 but descended below airport altitude. Descended through mountains til landing on/adjacent to roadway. Landed gear up (intentionally), slid approximately 150 feet while doing left 360 degree spin when left wing impacted street sign. Total engine time was 3:20 hours. Normal fuel burn is 10 gal/hr. At altitude 8.5 gal/hr. Flight planned 3 hours with 4 hours fuel. Anticipated reserves 30-45 minutes."
In a telephone interview, the pilot reported that during the flight from AIK to 6L4, he contacted "Flight Watch" and was advised of some "bad weather" around Asheville, North Carolina. He diverted about 10 miles to the west of his route of flight to "get around the weather," and climbed to 11,000 feet. The pilot then activated the airplane's turbocharger, which "reduced the airplane's fuel burn rate to 8 gallons per hour." A descent was initiated to 5,000 feet, around the West Virginia border, and about 10 miles from 6L4, the pilot performed a left downwind entry to the traffic pattern for Runway 24. When he was 2 miles from the airport, he began a descent to the traffic pattern altitude, and then the "engine quit." The pilot made a "straight-in for Runway 06," and when he realized he would not make the runway, he landed the airplane in the "only flat spot around." The pilot reported that the fuel gauge read "empty" while on the approach, and the airplane had been operating for 3 hours and 24 minutes, at the time of the accident.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the airplane's fuel tank was "completely dry" after the accident. In addition, no fuel was found in the fuel lines or the fuel flow divider. When the FAA inspector added 4 gallons of fuel to the airplane, the engine "started right up," and "ran as normal." No malfunctions were observed in the operation of the airplane's magnetos, propeller, or turbocharger. Additionally, no leaks were found in the fuel system.
According to a representative of the airplane manufacturer, the airplane could burn up to 11 gallons of fuel during start up, taxi, run-up, and initial climb.
According to a representative of the engine manufacturer, the engine installed in the accident airplane had a fuel consumption rate of 12.3 gal/hr at 75% power and 9.5 gal/hr at 65% power.