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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA17CA529
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 06, 2017 in Fairfield, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/27/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 182, registration: N735KQ
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, during an instrument flight rules cross-country flight, he realized the airplane was “very low on fuel.” He added that, with air traffic control’s assistance, he diverted to an airport along his route, which was about 30 nautical miles from the intended destination. He further added that he had difficulty locating the airport visually, and when he did locate the runway, the airplane was “too high” to land. Subsequently, as the pilot continued descending and maneuvering toward the runway, the engine lost power, and he landed in a field. He added that, the airplane “hit the field hard,” bounced, and struck a utility pole before stopping.
The pilot further reported in the NTSB Pilot/ Operator Aircraft Accident/ Incident Report that he was informed that no fuel was found in the airplane and that the right fuel cap was not installed. He reported that he added fuel to both fuel tanks at the departure airport and that there was a “possibility/ likelihood” that he did not secure the right fuel cap during preflight. He added that, during the diversion, he did not complete the “forced landing checklist.”
The airplane was destroyed.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to secure the right fuel cap during the preflight inspection, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, a total loss of engine power, and an off-airport hard landing.