On July 26, 2006, about 0845 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 150J, N60816, lost engine power and nosed over during an emergency landing near Napa County Airport (KAPC), Napa, California. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight departed Nut Tree Airport (KVCB), Vacaville, California, about 0830, with a planned destination of Napa. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot submitted a written report. He arrived at Nut Tree airport at 0810 and performed a preflight inspection of the airplane. The pilot checked the fuel quantity in each wing tank using a fuel measuring stick. He reported that there was no fuel in the left fuel tank, and approximately 5.5 gallons of usable fuel was in the right wing tank. The pilot stated he had "more than enough fuel for the 19 minute flight to Napa County Airport." He performed an engine run-up before takeoff and the engine ran within normal operating limits. The pilot executed a normal takeoff and climbed to 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl).
After clearing the mountains west of Nut Tree, he radioed Napa's air traffic control tower and requested a special visual flight rules (SVFR) clearance for runway 18. The controller informed the pilot to "remain outside Napa's class delta airspace and to expect a 10-minute delay for landing." The pilot remained outside the airspace by maneuvering in right circles over Mt. George. The pilot stated, "the fuel in the right tank lost contact with the fuel pickup and the airplane lost engine power." During the pilot's efforts to restart the engine, it gained power for about 20 seconds then quit again. The pilot informed the tower controller that he would not make it to the airport for landing, and that he would land in a field approximately 5 miles north of Napa Airport. He maneuvered the airplane over the field while losing altitude and configured the airplane for landing. There were houses and other obstacles in the vicinity of the field; therefore, the pilot did not extend the flaps in order to maintain as much airspeed and altitude for as long as possible. When the airplane entered ground effect, approximately 15-20 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot executed a right slip and kept the nose high to bleed off airspeed. He lined the airplane's nose up just before the airplane touched down. The main wheels touched down hard, and the airplane traveled another 20-30 feet before the nose wheel touched down. Upon contact with the ground, the nose gear buckled underneath the airplane, causing the airplane to nose over.
A representative from the Federal Aviation Administration inspected the airplane on scene and reported that he found no fuel in the left fuel tank and no more than 6 gallons of fuel in the right fuel tank.
According to the Cessna 150 owner's manual, standard wing tanks will hold a total of 26 gallons of fuel, 13 gallons in each wing tank. There are 22.5 total gallons of usable fuel and 3.5 gallons of unusable fuel evenly split between the two tanks.