FTW01LA131
FTW01LA131

On May 28, 2001, at 1725 central daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N5447J, was destroyed when it struck trees during a forced landing at the Georgetown Municipal Airport, Georgetown, Texas. The airplane was owned by a private individual and operated by Lone Star Wings LLC under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and his two passengers received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight, which departed Hutchinson, Kansas, at 1250, with a planned destination of Austin, Texas. A flight plan was not filed; however, the pilot received en route visual flight rules (VFR) flight following from the air traffic control (ATC) facilities.

On the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot stated that he had flown the airplane from the Austin-Bergstrom Airport to Hutchinson, Kansas, on May 25, 2001, without refueling the airplane en route. The pilot had the airplane refueled at Hutchinson. The pilot stated that he knew the inaccuracy of the fuel gauges which read empty when 1/2 full. On the day of the accident, the airplane was approximately 14 nautical miles from the Austin-Bergstrom Airport when the pilot contacted Austin Approach and explained to the controller that the airplane was "out of fuel." The engine rpm was 1,300 and the engine was running rough. The pilot switched the fuel selector from "BOTH" to each wing tank and then back to "BOTH," and for a few seconds the engine received fuel and resumed full power. The rate of descent of the airplane was approximately 400 feet per minute, and the pilot had runway 29 at the Georgetown Municipal Airport in sight. The airplane was approximately 6 miles from runway 29 when the engine "stopped." During the final approach, the airplane cleared high lines; however, the airplane "seemed to hit a downdraft over a grove of trees." The nose landing gear struck the trees, approximately 150 yards short of the runway, and the airplane "dropped straight down." The airplane turned 180 degrees to the left and came to rest nose down. The empennage separated from the cabin, the windshield was broken, the right front seat separated from the floor of the cockpit, and the front right door separated at the hinges.

A review of the transcript from the Austin ATC Tower Radar East Approach Control position, by the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) revealed the following data.

At 1722:08:46, the airplane was at 4,200 feet with ATIS information Delta and was inbound to the Austin-Bergstrom Airport.

At 1722:19:52, the pilot transmitted "thirty-five hundred feet and we're coughing without fuel."

At 1722:19:59, the controller transmitted "you said you're out of fuel."

At 1722:20:01, the pilot replied "affirmative we are out of fuel at thirty five hundred feet."

At 1722:20:04, the controller informed the pilot that the Georgetown Airport was right behind the airplane.

At 1722:20:10, at the pilot's request the controller issued radar vectors to the airport.

At 1722:21:03, the pilot reported that the Georgetown Airport was in sight and the pilot was issued a frequency change.

At 1722:31:08, the controller was informed that the airplane landed short of the runway.

At 1741, the weather observation facility at Austin reported wind from 150 degrees at 16 knots gusting to 20 knots.


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