|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : 1v5|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 1200
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
pilot : flight engineer
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 130|
flight time total : 7000
flight time type : 4500
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
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|
I, and 3 passenger, had made a pleasure flight to aspen earlier in the day with a 2/3 fuel load. As the middle brother/passenger had been an afghan air force transport helicopter pilot and had expressed an interest in getting a fixed wing rating here, I allowed him to fly the airplane from the right seat on the climb, cruise and descent portions of each leg. He flew reasonably well although he held a bit of right rudder periodically. Two miles south of the field I verified the surface wind as southerly from streaks and braking waves on the ponds of the local power plant. As we rolled level on downwind less than 1 mi north I announced, 'entering downwind for 8' on the unicom, and noticed that the engine sputtered the left tank was indicating a usable amount of fuel. The fuel selector had been set to both less than 5 mins before. I immediately took the controls and made a 45 degrees turn toward runway 26. A few seconds later noticing no progress toward the field I turned due south but still observed that I would never make the field. During this time I was lifting the left wing in an effort to get a maximum depth of fuel over the tank drain. I got one surge from the engine and then turned back to the west to avoid a row of trees and houses. I hit hard. Previous experience with the small aircraft dating back to 1966 has indicated that with low fuel noticeable changes in pitch can allow an air bubble to enter the fuel line which will not readily clear. It would appear that a skid might create the same problem. Had I not concentrated on a restart I could have landed the airplane unscathed. That thought will stay with me for quite some time.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA RAN OUT OF FUEL IN TRAFFIC PATTERN AND MADE OFF ARPT LNDG.
Narrative: I, AND 3 PAX, HAD MADE A PLEASURE FLT TO ASPEN EARLIER IN THE DAY WITH A 2/3 FUEL LOAD. AS THE MIDDLE BROTHER/PAX HAD BEEN AN AFGHAN AIR FORCE TRANSPORT HELI PLT AND HAD EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN GETTING A FIXED WING RATING HERE, I ALLOWED HIM TO FLY THE AIRPLANE FROM THE RIGHT SEAT ON THE CLB, CRUISE AND DSCNT PORTIONS OF EACH LEG. HE FLEW REASONABLY WELL ALTHOUGH HE HELD A BIT OF RIGHT RUDDER PERIODICALLY. TWO MILES S OF THE FIELD I VERIFIED THE SURFACE WIND AS SOUTHERLY FROM STREAKS AND BRAKING WAVES ON THE PONDS OF THE LCL PWR PLANT. AS WE ROLLED LEVEL ON DOWNWIND LESS THAN 1 MI N I ANNOUNCED, 'ENTERING DOWNWIND FOR 8' ON THE UNICOM, AND NOTICED THAT THE ENG SPUTTERED THE LEFT TANK WAS INDICATING A USABLE AMOUNT OF FUEL. THE FUEL SELECTOR HAD BEEN SET TO BOTH LESS THAN 5 MINS BEFORE. I IMMEDIATELY TOOK THE CTLS AND MADE A 45 DEGS TURN TOWARD RWY 26. A FEW SECS LATER NOTICING NO PROGRESS TOWARD THE FIELD I TURNED DUE S BUT STILL OBSERVED THAT I WOULD NEVER MAKE THE FIELD. DURING THIS TIME I WAS LIFTING THE LEFT WING IN AN EFFORT TO GET A MAX DEPTH OF FUEL OVER THE TANK DRAIN. I GOT ONE SURGE FROM THE ENG AND THEN TURNED BACK TO THE W TO AVOID A ROW OF TREES AND HOUSES. I HIT HARD. PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH THE SMA DATING BACK TO 1966 HAS INDICATED THAT WITH LOW FUEL NOTICEABLE CHANGES IN PITCH CAN ALLOW AN AIR BUBBLE TO ENTER THE FUEL LINE WHICH WILL NOT READILY CLR. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT A SKID MIGHT CREATE THE SAME PROB. HAD I NOT CONCENTRATED ON A RESTART I COULD HAVE LANDED THE AIRPLANE UNSCATHED. THAT THOUGHT WILL STAY WITH ME FOR QUITE SOME TIME.
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.