|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : ins|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 9500|
msl bound upper : 9500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : lsv|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : private
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 15|
flight time total : 475
flight time type : 40
|Affiliation||government : military|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : military|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
none taken : unable
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Estimated time for the flight was just at 3 hours. Since we would be flying in mountainous areas, and a direct flight, we had 4 hours of fuel on board. We departed reid-hillview approximately 1 1/2 hours later than we had expected, so we made a stop at bishop, ca, and spent the night there. The next morning we did a preflight, and determined that we should have plenty of fuel on board. We only estimated 1H, 40 mins for the flight to vegas. I should have topped the tanks off at bishop. We took off to the north, circled around to the south, gaining altitude to go over the mountains at 9500' MSL. It was very calm and clear throughout the entire flight. As we got 1 hour, 20 mins into the flight, I started really watching the fuel gauges. It looked as if there was enough fuel to complete the flight. Then, about 20 mi west of indian springs AFB, nv, the left tank ran out of fuel. I switched tanks. My wife almost panicked. After explaining the situation, she became very nervous about the remaining fuel. I told her that I'd been watching the gauges, but that we should have enough fuel to make it to north las vegas. I also explained that the gauges aren't the best way of determining the exact amount of fuel remaining in the tank. Going on the # of hours and the # of gals burn/hour, we should have enough to make it to las vegas. We then called nellis approach for clearance through the indian springs restr area. My wife was getting very upset watching the gauge--so I called nellis approach back to see if they happened to know of a place closer than north las vegas that might have fuel. He could not find an airport closer. He then advised that I could land at INS if I declared an emergency. He also advised that they did not have AVGAS. As things kept going, watching the gauge, looking at my upset/nervous wife, the gauge showed we had approximately 3 gals of fuel. I started doubting my calculations. Nellis approach asked what we planned on doing. We returned that we would declare an emergency. Nellis approach set us up with a straight in to INS. We had 10 gals of fuel delivered to us. We then took off and flew to north las vegas. We topped off the tanks, and I was able to determine that we had more than a gal of fuel after landing at INS AFB. For nerves and the safety of flight, we were glad that we made the decision to land at INS and wait the 3 hours for fuel. It changed our plans, but better than landing on a highway or short of a runway over las vegas. We had planned to have an hour of extra fuel than what the flight required. Climbing to altitude and maintaining altitude must have taken more fuel. The engine was leaned and checked regularly. To keep this from happening again to me, I will always carry 2 hours of fuel extra from airport to airport with services, and especially during mountain flying.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA DECLARES LOW FUEL EMERGENCY LNDG AT AFB.
Narrative: ESTIMATED TIME FOR THE FLT WAS JUST AT 3 HRS. SINCE WE WOULD BE FLYING IN MOUNTAINOUS AREAS, AND A DIRECT FLT, WE HAD 4 HRS OF FUEL ON BOARD. WE DEPARTED REID-HILLVIEW APPROX 1 1/2 HRS LATER THAN WE HAD EXPECTED, SO WE MADE A STOP AT BISHOP, CA, AND SPENT THE NIGHT THERE. THE NEXT MORNING WE DID A PREFLT, AND DETERMINED THAT WE SHOULD HAVE PLENTY OF FUEL ON BOARD. WE ONLY ESTIMATED 1H, 40 MINS FOR THE FLT TO VEGAS. I SHOULD HAVE TOPPED THE TANKS OFF AT BISHOP. WE TOOK OFF TO THE N, CIRCLED AROUND TO THE S, GAINING ALT TO GO OVER THE MOUNTAINS AT 9500' MSL. IT WAS VERY CALM AND CLEAR THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE FLT. AS WE GOT 1 HR, 20 MINS INTO THE FLT, I STARTED REALLY WATCHING THE FUEL GAUGES. IT LOOKED AS IF THERE WAS ENOUGH FUEL TO COMPLETE THE FLT. THEN, ABOUT 20 MI W OF INDIAN SPRINGS AFB, NV, THE LEFT TANK RAN OUT OF FUEL. I SWITCHED TANKS. MY WIFE ALMOST PANICKED. AFTER EXPLAINING THE SITUATION, SHE BECAME VERY NERVOUS ABOUT THE REMAINING FUEL. I TOLD HER THAT I'D BEEN WATCHING THE GAUGES, BUT THAT WE SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH FUEL TO MAKE IT TO N LAS VEGAS. I ALSO EXPLAINED THAT THE GAUGES AREN'T THE BEST WAY OF DETERMINING THE EXACT AMOUNT OF FUEL REMAINING IN THE TANK. GOING ON THE # OF HRS AND THE # OF GALS BURN/HR, WE SHOULD HAVE ENOUGH TO MAKE IT TO LAS VEGAS. WE THEN CALLED NELLIS APCH FOR CLRNC THROUGH THE INDIAN SPRINGS RESTR AREA. MY WIFE WAS GETTING VERY UPSET WATCHING THE GAUGE--SO I CALLED NELLIS APCH BACK TO SEE IF THEY HAPPENED TO KNOW OF A PLACE CLOSER THAN N LAS VEGAS THAT MIGHT HAVE FUEL. HE COULD NOT FIND AN ARPT CLOSER. HE THEN ADVISED THAT I COULD LAND AT INS IF I DECLARED AN EMER. HE ALSO ADVISED THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE AVGAS. AS THINGS KEPT GOING, WATCHING THE GAUGE, LOOKING AT MY UPSET/NERVOUS WIFE, THE GAUGE SHOWED WE HAD APPROX 3 GALS OF FUEL. I STARTED DOUBTING MY CALCULATIONS. NELLIS APCH ASKED WHAT WE PLANNED ON DOING. WE RETURNED THAT WE WOULD DECLARE AN EMER. NELLIS APCH SET US UP WITH A STRAIGHT IN TO INS. WE HAD 10 GALS OF FUEL DELIVERED TO US. WE THEN TOOK OFF AND FLEW TO N LAS VEGAS. WE TOPPED OFF THE TANKS, AND I WAS ABLE TO DETERMINE THAT WE HAD MORE THAN A GAL OF FUEL AFTER LNDG AT INS AFB. FOR NERVES AND THE SAFETY OF FLT, WE WERE GLAD THAT WE MADE THE DECISION TO LAND AT INS AND WAIT THE 3 HRS FOR FUEL. IT CHANGED OUR PLANS, BUT BETTER THAN LNDG ON A HWY OR SHORT OF A RWY OVER LAS VEGAS. WE HAD PLANNED TO HAVE AN HR OF EXTRA FUEL THAN WHAT THE FLT REQUIRED. CLBING TO ALT AND MAINTAINING ALT MUST HAVE TAKEN MORE FUEL. THE ENG WAS LEANED AND CHKED REGULARLY. TO KEEP THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN TO ME, I WILL ALWAYS CARRY 2 HRS OF FUEL EXTRA FROM ARPT TO ARPT WITH SVCS, AND ESPECIALLY DURING MOUNTAIN FLYING.
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.