DEN04LA071
DEN04LA071

On May 8, 2004, approximately 0915 mountain daylight time, a Cessna A185E, N185K, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when the engine lost power and it struck terrain 0.25 miles short of runway 17L at Centennial Airport (APA), Englewood, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot received minor injuries, but his passenger was seriously injured. The flight originated at Everitt Airstrip, Parker, Colorado, approximately 0910, and was en route to Centennial Airport.

In his accident report, the pilot stated that this was a "short nine (9) mile flight" to refuel. He had been cleared to land and was following "slow" traffic to runway 17L. He reduced airspeed and made a constant left turn. When he rolled out on final approach, he opened the throttle to arrest the descent rate. The engine did not respond although it was still running. He relaxed back pressure on the control yoke to maintain airspeed and banked slightly to land on a steep incline short of runway 17L. The descent rate increased and the airplane impacted the incline. Postaccident examination revealed the main landing gear was torn out of the fuselage, the firewall was buckled, and the forward portion of the fuselage aft of the firewall was wrinkled.

On May 1, 2003, a Shaddin Fuel Flow system was installed in the airplane. The system digitally indicates, by the toggling of a switch, total fuel on board, consumption rate, endurance, and fuel remaining. The pilot said that prior to taking off from Everett, he checked the fuel quantity and it indicated 10.1 gallons. After the accident, he again checked the fuel quantity and it indicated 8.0 gallons. If properly installed and calibrated correctly, the system will indicate no more than a plus or minus 1.0 gallon error. The recovery crew said that when they retrieved the airplane, they drained only one gallon from the fuel tanks.

The pilot said that several months before the accident, the bracket that secured the throttle cable to the firewall broke. This happened while the airplane was being taxied. Maintenance records contained no entry of a repair being made. Although the engine had been pushed aft and buckled the firewall, cockpit movement of the throttle produced cable movement at the throttle valve.

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