|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : m05.airport|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 932
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||PA-28 Cherokee/Archer II/Dakota/Pillan/Warrior|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Navigation In Use||other|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
descent : intermediate altitude
|Route In Use||arrival : vfr|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 30|
flight time total : 140
flight time type : 60
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
ground encounters other
inflight encounter : weather
non adherence : far
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
flight crew : landed in emergency condition
Flight Crew Human Performance
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
During a marginal VFR flight I ran out of gas and was forced to make an emergency landing in a field. There was no damage to the equipment and very minimal damage to the crops. I obtained additional fuel and continued the flight without further incident. Flight planning had shown the need for approximately 20 gals of fuel for the 216 NM, 2 hours 15 min flight. The plane was loaded with 31 gals of fuel in the left tank and 16 gals in the right tank which was confirmed by sticking the tanks during the preflight inspection. I encountered low clouds around the mississippi river about 40 NM from my destination. At this point I was about 5 NM southeast of byh (which was adjacent to my planned route) and I was monitoring their ASOS. The ASOS indicated that conditions where not suitable for landing there which could be confirmed visually as the low clouds where clearly visible. A decision to divert to ZZZ was made (18 NM northeast) because it appeared to be more clear in that direction. Once across the river (3 NM from ZZZ), it became apparent that this approach would also have to be terminated because of the low cloud conditions. After turning back and once I was clear of the river, I realized that I had been running on my second tank for 1 hour 45 mins rather than the 1 hour 30 mins planned. I then switched back to my first tank, which I had used for the first hour of the flight. ASOS indicated that conditions by byh were now better and a course was set towards it. I was now approximately 10 NM from byh and the first tank ran dry. Switching back to the second tank, I changed course for ZZZ because it was closer and I suspected that I had run too long on the second tank to have enough fuel to make it to byh but could possibly make it to ZZZ. I was able to contact ZZZ unicom and obtained assistance on the most direct route to them. About 5 NM from ZZZ, the second tank ran dry. I informed ZZZ unicom of this and gave a position report and began an engine out landing procedure. There was a field to my left of sufficient length to land, the landing occurred without incident. After obtaining 10 gals of fuel, and determining that there was sufficient distance to attempt a takeoff, a soft field takeoff was attempted. Once airborne, the flight was completed without incident and, remarkably, in good WX. Factors leading to this unplanned landing were both a slower ground speed due to headwinds and an unplanned extended circling climb during the first hour of the flight that was initiated in an attempt to climb over a cumulus formation. The effect of this additional fuel burn was not fully taken into account in fuel planning. In the future, I will be more vigilant in my fuel management practices. Had I switched back to the first tank at 1 hour 30 mins rather than 1 hour 45 mins, I think that when the first tank ran out, there would have been sufficient fuel for a diversion. I did have other options for diversion because there were several other landing facilities in the area. Additionally, I will also take on a fuel load that will bring me closer to gross weight, rather than taking on what I considered to be an adequate margin based on flight planning. I will also not attempt to climb over a cloud formation but rather simply maintain my altitude and fly around it.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: LOW TIME PA28 PLT MAKES A FORCED LNDG IN A FIELD DUE TO FUEL EXHAUSTION.
Narrative: DURING A MARGINAL VFR FLT I RAN OUT OF GAS AND WAS FORCED TO MAKE AN EMER LNDG IN A FIELD. THERE WAS NO DAMAGE TO THE EQUIP AND VERY MINIMAL DAMAGE TO THE CROPS. I OBTAINED ADDITIONAL FUEL AND CONTINUED THE FLT WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT. FLT PLANNING HAD SHOWN THE NEED FOR APPROX 20 GALS OF FUEL FOR THE 216 NM, 2 HRS 15 MIN FLT. THE PLANE WAS LOADED WITH 31 GALS OF FUEL IN THE L TANK AND 16 GALS IN THE R TANK WHICH WAS CONFIRMED BY STICKING THE TANKS DURING THE PREFLT INSPECTION. I ENCOUNTERED LOW CLOUDS AROUND THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER ABOUT 40 NM FROM MY DEST. AT THIS POINT I WAS ABOUT 5 NM SE OF BYH (WHICH WAS ADJACENT TO MY PLANNED RTE) AND I WAS MONITORING THEIR ASOS. THE ASOS INDICATED THAT CONDITIONS WHERE NOT SUITABLE FOR LNDG THERE WHICH COULD BE CONFIRMED VISUALLY AS THE LOW CLOUDS WHERE CLRLY VISIBLE. A DECISION TO DIVERT TO ZZZ WAS MADE (18 NM NE) BECAUSE IT APPEARED TO BE MORE CLR IN THAT DIRECTION. ONCE ACROSS THE RIVER (3 NM FROM ZZZ), IT BECAME APPARENT THAT THIS APCH WOULD ALSO HAVE TO BE TERMINATED BECAUSE OF THE LOW CLOUD CONDITIONS. AFTER TURNING BACK AND ONCE I WAS CLR OF THE RIVER, I REALIZED THAT I HAD BEEN RUNNING ON MY SECOND TANK FOR 1 HR 45 MINS RATHER THAN THE 1 HR 30 MINS PLANNED. I THEN SWITCHED BACK TO MY FIRST TANK, WHICH I HAD USED FOR THE FIRST HR OF THE FLT. ASOS INDICATED THAT CONDITIONS BY BYH WERE NOW BETTER AND A COURSE WAS SET TOWARDS IT. I WAS NOW APPROX 10 NM FROM BYH AND THE FIRST TANK RAN DRY. SWITCHING BACK TO THE SECOND TANK, I CHANGED COURSE FOR ZZZ BECAUSE IT WAS CLOSER AND I SUSPECTED THAT I HAD RUN TOO LONG ON THE SECOND TANK TO HAVE ENOUGH FUEL TO MAKE IT TO BYH BUT COULD POSSIBLY MAKE IT TO ZZZ. I WAS ABLE TO CONTACT ZZZ UNICOM AND OBTAINED ASSISTANCE ON THE MOST DIRECT RTE TO THEM. ABOUT 5 NM FROM ZZZ, THE SECOND TANK RAN DRY. I INFORMED ZZZ UNICOM OF THIS AND GAVE A POS RPT AND BEGAN AN ENG OUT LNDG PROC. THERE WAS A FIELD TO MY L OF SUFFICIENT LENGTH TO LAND, THE LNDG OCCURRED WITHOUT INCIDENT. AFTER OBTAINING 10 GALS OF FUEL, AND DETERMINING THAT THERE WAS SUFFICIENT DISTANCE TO ATTEMPT A TKOF, A SOFT FIELD TKOF WAS ATTEMPTED. ONCE AIRBORNE, THE FLT WAS COMPLETED WITHOUT INCIDENT AND, REMARKABLY, IN GOOD WX. FACTORS LEADING TO THIS UNPLANNED LNDG WERE BOTH A SLOWER GND SPD DUE TO HEADWINDS AND AN UNPLANNED EXTENDED CIRCLING CLB DURING THE FIRST HR OF THE FLT THAT WAS INITIATED IN AN ATTEMPT TO CLB OVER A CUMULUS FORMATION. THE EFFECT OF THIS ADDITIONAL FUEL BURN WAS NOT FULLY TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN FUEL PLANNING. IN THE FUTURE, I WILL BE MORE VIGILANT IN MY FUEL MGMNT PRACTICES. HAD I SWITCHED BACK TO THE FIRST TANK AT 1 HR 30 MINS RATHER THAN 1 HR 45 MINS, I THINK THAT WHEN THE FIRST TANK RAN OUT, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT FUEL FOR A DIVERSION. I DID HAVE OTHER OPTIONS FOR DIVERSION BECAUSE THERE WERE SEVERAL OTHER LNDG FACILITIES IN THE AREA. ADDITIONALLY, I WILL ALSO TAKE ON A FUEL LOAD THAT WILL BRING ME CLOSER TO GROSS WT, RATHER THAN TAKING ON WHAT I CONSIDERED TO BE AN ADEQUATE MARGIN BASED ON FLT PLANNING. I WILL ALSO NOT ATTEMPT TO CLB OVER A CLOUD FORMATION BUT RATHER SIMPLY MAINTAIN MY ALT AND FLY AROUND IT.
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.