|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 1500|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : zzz.tower|
|Operator||general aviation : corporate|
|Make Model Name||MD Helicopter 500/C/D/E/L|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||cruise : level|
|Affiliation||company : corporate|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : cfi
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 100|
flight time total : 4000
flight time type : 500
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
non adherence : far
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : landed in emergency condition|
Flight Crew Human Performance
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
I was on a day VFR scouting trip to find acceptable off-site landing areas. I fly for a local television station. I was PIC in a mcdonnell douglas 500D helicopter. The preflight inspection was normal. Every caution and warning light functioned upon testing. The fuel gauge showed full tanks, which is 2.5 hours of flight time until empty. The planned flight was only 1 hour in duration. The entire flight went according to plan until I was on the way home. I contacted ZZZ tower to get clearance to land. I was issued instructions to join right traffic for landing. At approximately 4 or 5 mi from the apt the engine flamed out. I tried to restart with no success, so I issued a mayday to the control tower. I performed a full autorotation into a cow pasture. There was absolutely no damage to the ship or to any persons or property. Upon inspection, the fuel tanks were empty. It was also found that the fuel-sending unit was faulty, and the low fuel warning system was not operating as well. They have since both been replaced/fixed. In retrospect, if there were a way to visually inspect the fuel level in the tanks, this occurrence would have been avoided. I have since started using a notched broomstick to check the actual fuel level in my preflight inspection.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: MD500 PLT HAS ENG FAILURE DUE TO FUEL STARVATION AND AUTOROTATES.
Narrative: I WAS ON A DAY VFR SCOUTING TRIP TO FIND ACCEPTABLE OFF-SITE LNDG AREAS. I FLY FOR A LCL TELEVISION STATION. I WAS PIC IN A MCDONNELL DOUGLAS 500D HELI. THE PREFLT INSPECTION WAS NORMAL. EVERY CAUTION AND WARNING LIGHT FUNCTIONED UPON TESTING. THE FUEL GAUGE SHOWED FULL TANKS, WHICH IS 2.5 HRS OF FLT TIME UNTIL EMPTY. THE PLANNED FLT WAS ONLY 1 HR IN DURATION. THE ENTIRE FLT WENT ACCORDING TO PLAN UNTIL I WAS ON THE WAY HOME. I CONTACTED ZZZ TWR TO GET CLRNC TO LAND. I WAS ISSUED INSTRUCTIONS TO JOIN R TFC FOR LNDG. AT APPROX 4 OR 5 MI FROM THE APT THE ENG FLAMED OUT. I TRIED TO RESTART WITH NO SUCCESS, SO I ISSUED A MAYDAY TO THE CTL TWR. I PERFORMED A FULL AUTOROTATION INTO A COW PASTURE. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO DAMAGE TO THE SHIP OR TO ANY PERSONS OR PROPERTY. UPON INSPECTION, THE FUEL TANKS WERE EMPTY. IT WAS ALSO FOUND THAT THE FUEL-SENDING UNIT WAS FAULTY, AND THE LOW FUEL WARNING SYS WAS NOT OPERATING AS WELL. THEY HAVE SINCE BOTH BEEN REPLACED/FIXED. IN RETROSPECT, IF THERE WERE A WAY TO VISUALLY INSPECT THE FUEL LEVEL IN THE TANKS, THIS OCCURRENCE WOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. I HAVE SINCE STARTED USING A NOTCHED BROOMSTICK TO CHK THE ACTUAL FUEL LEVEL IN MY PREFLT INSPECTION.
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.