|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : stl.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 3000|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||PA-28 Cherokee/Archer II/Dakota/Pillan/Warrior|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||cruise : level|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : cfi|
pilot : commercial
pilot : instrument
pilot : multi engine
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 10|
flight time total : 1500
flight time type : 96
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
non adherence : published procedure
non adherence : far
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : landed in emergency condition|
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
The flight in question was the return leg of a cross country flight from 3SQ to coq. The aircraft suffered fuel starvation at the approximately location listed under location above. An off-airport landing was made with no damage to the aircraft, no injury to the pilot/passenger, and no threat to persons or property on the ground. Prior to departure from coq, the pilot obtained a WX briefing from FSS by telephone and reviewed WX graphics from a private WX vendor. An IFR flight plan with an estimated time en route of 4 hours was filed with the FSS briefer based on a winds aloft forecast for the route which indicated that winds across the route were forecast to be from the wnw with velocities from 10-20 KTS. Based on the course direction for the flight (165 degrees magnetic average), the forecasted winds should have resulted in a crosswind or slight tailwind. The aircraft had been topped off with 48 gallons of usable fuel on arrival at coq from 3SQ and was verified full prior to takeoff. The true airspeed was estimated to be 118 KTS over a distance of 280 NM resulting in an estimated no-wind time en route of 4 hours 4 mins. The flight planned fuel consumption rate was estimated at an average rate of 9 gph for the 4 hour flight for a total of approximately 36 gallons. Which should have left 12 gallons or approximately 1.25 hours in reserve. Ground speed en route was less than anticipated based on the preflight information. At approximately 4 1/2 hours into the flight while descending through 3000 ft from a 5000 ft cruise altitude, at the request of stl approach control, the engine began to stumble. The fuel gauges appeared to indicate that between 5-10 gallons were remaining in each tank. The pilot switched tanks, turned on the auxiliary fuel pump, and the engine regained power. The pilot advised ATC of a fuel emergency and requested assistance. However, shortly thereafter, the engine began to stumble again and eventually stopped. The conditions were VMC at the time. The pilot established best glide speed, picked a landing spot, looked for car/truck traffic and landed without incident on a hard surfaced farm road. The pilot then contacted FSS by telephone to request that they advise ATC that everything was ok. The pilot contacted personnel at the jerseyville, il, airport and had 10 gallons of fuel delivered to the farm where the aircraft was landed. After fueling with the 10 gallons, local residents and jerseyville airport personnel blocked the road from vehicular traffic and a normal takeoff was performed. The pilot flew directly to the jerseyville airport approximately 14 NM from the point of takeoff. An additional 25 gallons of fuel were taken at jerseyville airport. The aircraft was then flown the remaining 17 NM to the original destination, 3SQ, without incident. There were several factors involved in the causation of this incident. 1) winds aloft significantly different than those forecast resulting in a lower than expected ground speed. 2) a failure by the pilot to recognize the effect the different winds were having on fuel endurance and take positive action. 3) an overestimation of anticipated reserves. 4) trusting and/or improperly interping the fuel gauges. An incident of this type could be avoided by taking positive action when it is recognized that the winds aloft and ground speed are different than planned for and not relying on anticipated fuel reserves to complete a flight.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A COMMERCIAL INST RATED PLT FLYING PA28-181 NEAR STL EXPERIENCES TOTAL FUEL EXHAUSTION RESULTING IN AN OFF ARPT LNDG.
Narrative: THE FLT IN QUESTION WAS THE RETURN LEG OF A XCOUNTRY FLT FROM 3SQ TO COQ. THE ACFT SUFFERED FUEL STARVATION AT THE APPROX LOCATION LISTED UNDER LOCATION ABOVE. AN OFF-ARPT LNDG WAS MADE WITH NO DAMAGE TO THE ACFT, NO INJURY TO THE PLT/PAX, AND NO THREAT TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY ON THE GND. PRIOR TO DEP FROM COQ, THE PLT OBTAINED A WX BRIEFING FROM FSS BY TELEPHONE AND REVIEWED WX GRAPHICS FROM A PVT WX VENDOR. AN IFR FLT PLAN WITH AN ESTIMATED TIME ENRTE OF 4 HRS WAS FILED WITH THE FSS BRIEFER BASED ON A WINDS ALOFT FORECAST FOR THE RTE WHICH INDICATED THAT WINDS ACROSS THE RTE WERE FORECAST TO BE FROM THE WNW WITH VELOCITIES FROM 10-20 KTS. BASED ON THE COURSE DIRECTION FOR THE FLT (165 DEGS MAGNETIC AVERAGE), THE FORECASTED WINDS SHOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A XWIND OR SLIGHT TAILWIND. THE ACFT HAD BEEN TOPPED OFF WITH 48 GALLONS OF USABLE FUEL ON ARR AT COQ FROM 3SQ AND WAS VERIFIED FULL PRIOR TO TKOF. THE TRUE AIRSPD WAS ESTIMATED TO BE 118 KTS OVER A DISTANCE OF 280 NM RESULTING IN AN ESTIMATED NO-WIND TIME ENRTE OF 4 HRS 4 MINS. THE FLT PLANNED FUEL CONSUMPTION RATE WAS ESTIMATED AT AN AVERAGE RATE OF 9 GPH FOR THE 4 HR FLT FOR A TOTAL OF APPROX 36 GALLONS. WHICH SHOULD HAVE LEFT 12 GALLONS OR APPROX 1.25 HRS IN RESERVE. GND SPD ENRTE WAS LESS THAN ANTICIPATED BASED ON THE PREFLT INFO. AT APPROX 4 1/2 HRS INTO THE FLT WHILE DSNDING THROUGH 3000 FT FROM A 5000 FT CRUISE ALT, AT THE REQUEST OF STL APCH CTL, THE ENG BEGAN TO STUMBLE. THE FUEL GAUGES APPEARED TO INDICATE THAT BTWN 5-10 GALLONS WERE REMAINING IN EACH TANK. THE PLT SWITCHED TANKS, TURNED ON THE AUX FUEL PUMP, AND THE ENG REGAINED PWR. THE PLT ADVISED ATC OF A FUEL EMER AND REQUESTED ASSISTANCE. HOWEVER, SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THE ENG BEGAN TO STUMBLE AGAIN AND EVENTUALLY STOPPED. THE CONDITIONS WERE VMC AT THE TIME. THE PLT ESTABLISHED BEST GLIDE SPD, PICKED A LNDG SPOT, LOOKED FOR CAR/TRUCK TFC AND LANDED WITHOUT INCIDENT ON A HARD SURFACED FARM ROAD. THE PLT THEN CONTACTED FSS BY TELEPHONE TO REQUEST THAT THEY ADVISE ATC THAT EVERYTHING WAS OK. THE PLT CONTACTED PERSONNEL AT THE JERSEYVILLE, IL, ARPT AND HAD 10 GALLONS OF FUEL DELIVERED TO THE FARM WHERE THE ACFT WAS LANDED. AFTER FUELING WITH THE 10 GALLONS, LCL RESIDENTS AND JERSEYVILLE ARPT PERSONNEL BLOCKED THE ROAD FROM VEHICULAR TFC AND A NORMAL TKOF WAS PERFORMED. THE PLT FLEW DIRECTLY TO THE JERSEYVILLE ARPT APPROX 14 NM FROM THE POINT OF TKOF. AN ADDITIONAL 25 GALLONS OF FUEL WERE TAKEN AT JERSEYVILLE ARPT. THE ACFT WAS THEN FLOWN THE REMAINING 17 NM TO THE ORIGINAL DEST, 3SQ, WITHOUT INCIDENT. THERE WERE SEVERAL FACTORS INVOLVED IN THE CAUSATION OF THIS INCIDENT. 1) WINDS ALOFT SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT THAN THOSE FORECAST RESULTING IN A LOWER THAN EXPECTED GND SPD. 2) A FAILURE BY THE PLT TO RECOGNIZE THE EFFECT THE DIFFERENT WINDS WERE HAVING ON FUEL ENDURANCE AND TAKE POSITIVE ACTION. 3) AN OVERESTIMATION OF ANTICIPATED RESERVES. 4) TRUSTING AND/OR IMPROPERLY INTERPING THE FUEL GAUGES. AN INCIDENT OF THIS TYPE COULD BE AVOIDED BY TAKING POSITIVE ACTION WHEN IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT THE WINDS ALOFT AND GND SPD ARE DIFFERENT THAN PLANNED FOR AND NOT RELYING ON ANTICIPATED FUEL RESERVES TO COMPLETE A FLT.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 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.