DEN08LA109
DEN08LA109

On June 21, 2008, at 1613 central daylight time, a Flight Design GMBH CTSW, N460CT, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it struck a fence and nosed over during a forced landing after the engine lost power near Von Ormy, Texas. 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 and passenger on board the airplane were not injured. The cross-country flight originated in Houston (SGR), Texas, at 1430, and was en route to Castorville (T89), Texas.

According to the pilot's accident report, he was at 5,000 feet msl (above mean sea level) and was being vectored through San Antonio (SAT) airspace by SAT approach control. The engine began to sputter and then it "stopped." The pilot was unable to restart the engine, so he moved the propeller to the horizontal position "to protect the engine during touchdown." He selected a "good field" in level pastureland for the forced landing. After turning onto the base leg, he noticed a number of horses grazing at the beginning of the field and he turned on final approach sooner than intended. This moved his touchdown point further downfield than he wanted. Indicated airspeed was 50 mph in the flare. He lowered the flaps to 40 degrees. As soon as he cleared the horses, he retracted the flaps to "increase the friction of the brakes on the grassy pasture surface. This made the pasture a little short" and the airplane overran the end and struck a wire fence, collapsing the nose gear and buckling the composite structure.

The pilot admitted that the engine lost power due to fuel exhaustion "which could have been avoided by obtaining fuel at the last stop." He said the airplane was not equipped with in-flight readable fuel indicators, only a dipstick gauge, and this makes it "tricky to utilize the full 34 gallon capacity." He concluded that "an accurate fuel gauge and experience with timing and fuel usage at a certain RPM would have solved this fuel management problem." He recommended that "the fuel indicator tubes in the wing roots be changed at every annual inspection."

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