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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 156161
Last updated: 15 February 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic C177 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 177B Cardinal
Owner/operator:Aerial Photographers Llc
Registration: N177FG
C/n / msn: 17701781
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Dulles Green Apartments, Herndon, VA -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Philadelphia, PA (PNE)
Destination airport:Manassas, VA (HEF)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The pilot and passenger planned to complete an aerial observation/photography flight across multiple sites during the daytime and at night. The airplane was fueled to its maximum capacity of 49 gallons before departing from the airplane’s home base to accomplish the daylight portion of the mission. After one intermediate stop and 3.38 hours of flight time, the pilot landed the airplane to obtain additional fuel and wait for darkness to fall. After observing the remaining fuel quantity, the pilot estimated that 15 additional gallons of fuel would be necessary to complete the estimated remaining 3-hour flight, and 10 and 5 gallons of fuel were added to the left and right fuel tanks, respectively. The airplane subsequently departed and, about 2.9 hours into the flight, the engine lost total power. The pilot unsuccessfully attempted to glide the airplane to a runway at a nearby major airport, and the airplane impacted a residential structure. Examination of the wreckage following the accident revealed no evidence of fuel within the tanks or anywhere at the accident site even though both fuel tanks appeared to have been breached during the impact sequence.
Review of fuel consumption data from an onboard engine fuel flow display device showed that 37.6 of the available 49 gallons of usable had been consumed during the flights immediately preceding the accident flight. The pilot added 15 gallons to the remaining 11.4 gallons for a total of 26.4 usable gallons of fuel at the time of departure. The fuel flow display device showed that, during the accident flight, the engine had consumed 29.2 gallons of fuel before losing power. Although the estimated calculations showed that the total quantity consumed was greater than the total quantity available, considering the lack of fuel observed at the accident site and the pilot’s statements to air traffic control regarding the airplane’s fuel state, it is apparent that the total loss of engine power was the result of fuel exhaustion.

Probable Cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power.


FAA register:

Revision history:

31-May-2013 16:07 Geno Added
01-Jun-2013 12:57 Anon. Updated [Date, Time]
04-Jun-2013 14:05 Hans Gruber Updated [Embed code]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
28-Nov-2017 14:40 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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