|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : oxi|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 3000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : sbn|
tower : stl
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute : direct|
enroute : on vectors
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 55|
flight time total : 15243
flight time type : 285
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
none taken : unable
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
12/88, I preflted small aircraft. The fuel gauges showed 32 gals after taxiing and run up. I calculated the distance from greenwood airport to valparaiso to be 126 NM. I figured an estimated time en route of 42 mins. I figured the total fuel burn off would be approximately 12 gals. The WX at valparaiso was forecast to be 3800' and 10 mi visibility. After takeoff I contacted indianapolis departure for radar vectors to kokomo VOR. Approximately 20 mi northeast of indianapolis, I requested and received an IFR clearance, direct kokomo, direct knox, direct valparaiso at 3000'. My DME was indicating a ground speed of 194-197 KTS. This was 14-17 KTS better than predicted. I was unable to receive knox VOR, and requested radar vectors direct knox VOR. Grissom gave me vectors and told me to contact chicago center. Chicago center told me to contact south bend approach. I advised south bend that I was not receiving knox VOR and the controller advised that they would provide radar vectors to the localizer at valparaiso. The controller gave instructions to descend to 2600'. During descent I told the controller the engine was running rough. A few seconds later, I told her the engine was dead. I was given a heading of 250 degrees for knox airport. I broke out of overcast at 300-500' and made a gear up landing in a field. I called FSS and told them what had happened and to notify south bend approach control. The following data was obtained from pilot's handbook: figure 5-8 climb to 4000', covering 10 NM, fuel used=2 gals. Figure 5-9 cruise at 4000', fuel used 15 gph. Since I had 40 mins flying time left, I took 75% of 15 gal and came up with 11 gal/13 gal. I figured from this that I had 1 hour extra fuel. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: it is not possible to get a dip stick reading with this aircraft. Unless the tanks are full to overflow, a tank check is only a guess. The FAA says that their only requirement for fuel gauges in small aircraft is that they read '0' when the tanks are empty. Apparently unless a pilot starts with full tanks and keeps a running fuel burn/remaining log, he has only 2 accurate readings: full and empty.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA EMERGENCY LNDG FOLLOWING ENGINE FAILURE DUE TO FUEL EXHAUSTION.
Narrative: 12/88, I PREFLTED SMA. THE FUEL GAUGES SHOWED 32 GALS AFTER TAXIING AND RUN UP. I CALCULATED THE DISTANCE FROM GREENWOOD ARPT TO VALPARAISO TO BE 126 NM. I FIGURED AN ESTIMATED TIME ENRTE OF 42 MINS. I FIGURED THE TOTAL FUEL BURN OFF WOULD BE APPROX 12 GALS. THE WX AT VALPARAISO WAS FORECAST TO BE 3800' AND 10 MI VISIBILITY. AFTER TKOF I CONTACTED INDIANAPOLIS DEP FOR RADAR VECTORS TO KOKOMO VOR. APPROX 20 MI NE OF INDIANAPOLIS, I REQUESTED AND RECEIVED AN IFR CLRNC, DIRECT KOKOMO, DIRECT KNOX, DIRECT VALPARAISO AT 3000'. MY DME WAS INDICATING A GND SPD OF 194-197 KTS. THIS WAS 14-17 KTS BETTER THAN PREDICTED. I WAS UNABLE TO RECEIVE KNOX VOR, AND REQUESTED RADAR VECTORS DIRECT KNOX VOR. GRISSOM GAVE ME VECTORS AND TOLD ME TO CONTACT CHICAGO CENTER. CHICAGO CENTER TOLD ME TO CONTACT SOUTH BEND APCH. I ADVISED SOUTH BEND THAT I WAS NOT RECEIVING KNOX VOR AND THE CTLR ADVISED THAT THEY WOULD PROVIDE RADAR VECTORS TO THE LOC AT VALPARAISO. THE CTLR GAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO DSND TO 2600'. DURING DSCNT I TOLD THE CTLR THE ENG WAS RUNNING ROUGH. A FEW SECS LATER, I TOLD HER THE ENG WAS DEAD. I WAS GIVEN A HDG OF 250 DEGS FOR KNOX ARPT. I BROKE OUT OF OVCST AT 300-500' AND MADE A GEAR UP LNDG IN A FIELD. I CALLED FSS AND TOLD THEM WHAT HAD HAPPENED AND TO NOTIFY SOUTH BEND APCH CTL. THE FOLLOWING DATA WAS OBTAINED FROM PLT'S HANDBOOK: FIGURE 5-8 CLB TO 4000', COVERING 10 NM, FUEL USED=2 GALS. FIGURE 5-9 CRUISE AT 4000', FUEL USED 15 GPH. SINCE I HAD 40 MINS FLYING TIME LEFT, I TOOK 75% OF 15 GAL AND CAME UP WITH 11 GAL/13 GAL. I FIGURED FROM THIS THAT I HAD 1 HR EXTRA FUEL. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO GET A DIP STICK READING WITH THIS ACFT. UNLESS THE TANKS ARE FULL TO OVERFLOW, A TANK CHK IS ONLY A GUESS. THE FAA SAYS THAT THEIR ONLY REQUIREMENT FOR FUEL GAUGES IN SMA IS THAT THEY READ '0' WHEN THE TANKS ARE EMPTY. APPARENTLY UNLESS A PLT STARTS WITH FULL TANKS AND KEEPS A RUNNING FUEL BURN/REMAINING LOG, HE HAS ONLY 2 ACCURATE READINGS: FULL AND EMPTY.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.