LAX06LA178
LAX06LA178

On May 18, 2006, about 1630 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna T210L, N212DW, collided with the ground during a forced landing following a loss of engine power in the takeoff initial climb at Chico, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries, and one passenger sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The cross-country personal flight was en route to Watsonville, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot submitted a written report. He stated that he flew into Chico the previous evening. He ordered fuel. When he arrived at the airport for the return flight home, he did not preflight the fuel tanks to check their quantity.

The pilot did a run-up before takeoff, and noted that everything was normal. He departed runway 13L, and noted a lower than optimum fuel flow. About 250 feet above ground level (agl), the engine lost power. He notified the tower, and turned back toward the airport. He set up a glide at 97 miles per hour (mph). When it became apparent that he could not make it to either runway, he chose to set the airplane down on a broken asphalt tarmac between the runways. He lowered the flaps, but did not lower the landing gear. His descent was steep, and he flared too soon. The airplane stalled about 30 feet agl, and the nose was dropping as it hit hard. It skidded about 200 feet before coming to a stop.

Emergency personnel responded to the accident immediately, and removed the two occupants. The passenger experienced back pain, and a medical examination revealed that she had suffered three broken vertebrae.

The pilot reported that the loss of power was due to fuel exhaustion. He also noted that the power off glide angle was uncomfortably steep; it was difficult to judge the proper point to flare. He recommended that these characteristics be emphasized in emergency training.

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