LAX04LA111
LAX04LA111

On February 1, 2004, about 1100 mountain standard time, a Cessna T210L, N2234S, landed off airport near the Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Goodyear, Arizona, following a loss of engine power. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries, one passenger sustained minor injuries, and one passenger was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal cross-country flight departed Bob Hope Airport, Burbank, California, at an undetermined time en route to Gila Bend Municipal Airport, Gila Bend, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

A sheriff's deputy interviewed the pilot and the front seat passenger after the accident. The pilot stated that they departed Burbank in the morning for a sightseeing flight in Arizona. They had decided to stop at Gila Bend for fuel. The passenger reported that they had enough fuel to fly from Burbank to Gila Bend.

In a statement to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot reported that he had fueled the airplane to its 90-gallon capacity the day before the accident and had flown the airplane for 1 hour after that. During the accident flight, the pilot had used a richer mixture to aid in cooling one cylinder. He told the inspector that this may have led to a miscalculation of the fuel consumption during the flight.

As the flight neared the vacinity of Gila Bend, the pilot contacted Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and reported a low fuel situation and that he was going to land at Gila Bend for fuel. The controller contacted the Gila Bend airport and determined that there was no fuel available there and suggested that the pilot should divert to another airport. They then headed towards Buckeye Municipal Airport, but were later notified by center that Buckeye also did not have fuel. At this time they diverted to the Phoenix Goodyear Airport and advised the tower that they were low on fuel and coming in to land.

As they approached the airport, they switched to the other fuel tank. It went from 1/8 tank to empty in 15 minutes. They decreased their speed in an effort to conserve fuel. Near the airport, the airplane exhibited signs of fuel exhaustion. The pilot did not believe he was going to make the runway. The airplane lost power, and the pilot landed in a plowed field about 1 mile from the Phoenix Goodyear airport. The airplane sustained damage to the main landing gear and to the fuselage.

Post accident inspection by FAA inspectors found no fuel onboard the airplane. All fuel lines and tanks were intact. The inspectors found no evidence of a fuel leak.

According to the Pilot's Operating Handbook, the Cessna T210L has a fuel capacity of 90 gallons; .5 gallons are unusable on each side. According to the engine's manufacturer, the average fuel burn is about 18 gallons per hour at 75 percent horsepower.

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