LAX03LA089
LAX03LA089

On February 16, 2003, about 1157 Pacific standard time, a Cessna T210L, N5089V, experienced a total loss of engine power while maneuvering about 5 miles south of Stockton, California. The pilot made a forced landing in an open soft field. The touchdown was hard, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The commercial pilot and one passenger received minor injuries. The second passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot. The work-related photography flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Stockton about 1030.

The pilot verbally reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that both fuel tanks were approximately 1/2 full when he initiated the flight. While maneuvering about 1,800 feet mean sea level (msl) over 30 foot msl terrain, the engine suddenly lost all engine power. No vibration or sputtering preceded the loss of power. The pilot indicated that he repositioned the fuel selector to the opposite fuel tank, but engine power was not restored. Thereafter, he made a forced landing in the underlying grassy field.

The pilot was subsequently interviewed by a representative from Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM), who also examined the airplane's engine while under the supervision of a Federal Aviation Administration inspector (FAA). In pertinent part, the TCM representative reported that the pilot indicated when he had initiated the accident flight the airplane contained about 45 gallons of fuel; however, the pilot had not visually checked its quantity. During the flight, when engine power was lost, the pilot repositioned the fuel selector from the right fuel tank to the left fuel tank.

The TCM representative reported that during his examination of the accident airplane the right fuel tank was found to be empty. A total of approximately 4 gallons of fuel were drained from the left tank. During the fuel system component examination, some fuel was found in the metered fuel line from the metering unit to the manifold valve. Several drops of fuel were present in the return line at the engine driven fuel pump. The main fuel line to the engine driven fuel pump was dry. Some fuel was present in the return line from the metering unit to the engine driven fuel pump. The gascolator was about 1/4 full of fuel. Approximately 1 1/2 ounces of fuel could be drained from the left header tank. The airplane's electric boost pump was activated, and it operated. But, no fuel pressure was obtained on the fuel pressure gauge.

The TCM representative additionally reported that during his examination of the engine, he noted its crankshaft could be rotated. Upon rotation all six pistons moved and the gears at the rear of the engine all turned. No free play was noted. All six top spark plugs exhibited lean operating signatures, as did all six piston domes. The engine driven fuel pump was removed, and its drive coupling and gear were intact. The pump rotated freely and contained a small amount of fuel. In summary, the TCM representative reported finding no evidence of any engine related preimpact mechanical defect or malfunction that would preclude the engine from developing power.

Airman record data received from the FAA indicates that on March 27, 2002, the pilot reported his total flight time was 1,850 hours. The pilot also reported having flown about 100 hours during the preceding 6-months. As of May, 2004, the Safety Board has not received from the pilot the required Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB form 6120.1/2.

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