On November 26, 2001, about 1605 eastern standard time, a Cessna 310C, N1840H, registered to an individual, crashed while attempting a forced landing following loss of engine power, at Reidsville Municipal Airport, Reidsville, Georgia, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the private-rated pilot and four passengers received minor injuries. The flight originated from Hickory, North Carolina, the same day, about 1415.

The pilot stated they flew from Niagara Falls, New York, to Hickory, North Carolina. At Hickory, he had all four fuel tanks filled to the top. After takeoff from Hickory, they climbed to 8,500 feet. Takeoff and climb was performed using the main or tip fuel tanks. After using about 40 gallons from each main tank, he switched the fuel selectors to the inboard or auxiliary tanks. He then climbed to 9,500 feet. When he had used all but about 2 or 3 gallons from the inboard tanks, he switched the fuel selectors back to the main fuel tanks. After about 15 to 20 minutes the engines began to surge and lose power. He contacted the air traffic controller and they directed him towards the Reidsville Airport. He moved the engine throttle controls to idle and began the descent for landing. He entered downwind for runway 29 at Reidsville, with both propellers wind milling. When he turned on base leg, he lowered the landing gear. Upon turning to final approach, he realized he could not make the runway. The engines had no power and he placed the propeller controls into the feathered position. Just prior to the landing flare, the airplane did not respond to control inputs. The airplane touched down hard, right wing low, and an explosion occurred in the right wing area. The airplane slid about 100 feet and an explosion occurred in the left wing area. When the airplane came to a stop, they exited the airplane.

Postcrash examination of the airplane at the crash site was performed by an FAA Inspector and representatives of Cessna Aircraft and Teledyne Continental Motors. The airplane touched down in a grass area, about 400 feet from the approach end of runway 11, at the Reidsville Airport. All three landing gear separated from the airplane and the left and right wing main fuel tanks caught fire. The airplane slid to a stop about 250 feet prior to the end of the runway. Both engine fuel selectors were found on the auxiliary fuel tank position. The auxiliary fuel tanks were not breached by impact forces or the post crash fire, and they contained no usable fuel. The main fuel tanks had separated from the airplane and were damaged by the postcrash fire. The left propeller was in the feathered position, and the right propeller was in the low pitch position.

The engines were removed from the aircraft after recovery and placed on an engine test stand. The left engine was operated to 1,700 rpm with no evidence of failure or malfunction. The right propeller was installed on the left engine for the run do to impact damage to the left propeller. A higher power was not obtained do to a fuel leak at the No. 5 induction tube do to impact damage. The right engine was operated to full power with no evidence of failure or malfunction.

Fueling personnel at Hickory, North Carolina, stated that at the request of the pilot, they completely filled all four fuel tanks on the airplane with 100 low lead fuel prior to the airplane departing. They stated they had no reports from pilots of other airplanes that had been fueled before or after N1840H about problems with the fuel.

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