Fuel exhaustion Accident Cessna 150L N10789,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 215039
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Date:Monday 3 September 2018
Type:Silhouette image of generic C150 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 150L
Owner/operator:Rotor F/X
Registration: N10789
MSN: 15075041
Year of manufacture:1973
Total airframe hrs:4123 hours
Engine model:Continental O.200.A(48)
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Pacoima-Whiteman Airport, CA (KWHP) -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Pacoima-Whiteman Airport, CA (KWHP)
Destination airport:Pacoima-Whiteman Airport, CA (KWHP)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The flight instructor and passenger were conducting a local area discovery flight. About 50 seconds after the airplane was cleared for takeoff, the instructor transmitted to the tower controller, that he needed to turn back. The tower controller then cleared the airplane to land; no further communication was received from the instructor.

A video recording from a GoPro camera mounted in the cockpit provided an over-the-shoulder view of the airplane occupants and instrument panel during the flight; there was no audio. The video revealed that, after an uneventful taxi and run-up, the instructor taxied the airplane onto the runway and, with his hands still on the yoke, the passenger advanced the throttle to start the takeoff roll. The airplane became airborne, and about 20 ft above ground level (agl), the instructor removed his hands from the yoke to allow the passenger to fly. Two seconds later, the airplane's nose dropped, and the instructor put his right hand on the yoke and left hand on the throttle; the rpm gauge indicated between 2,200 and 2,300 rpm. The instructor then appeared to verify that the throttle was at full power and that the mixture was full rich. When the airplane was about 50 ft agl, the instructor quickly pulled back the throttle, and the rpm dropped to 1,300. He then increased the throttle to full power, and the rpm increased to 2,200 rpm. The instructor then initiated a left bank turn, and the airplane subsequently pitched up and banked left about 15° to 20°. The airspeed began to slow, and the ball in the turn-and-slip indicator showed an almost full-right deflection. The instructor continued to pull the yoke aft as the airspeed continued to decrease throughout the turn. The airplane subsequently entered a left spin from about 50 ft agl, turned about 270°, and then impacted the overhang of a building about 500 ft adjacent to the departure end of the runway.

Witnesses reported seeing the airplane shortly after takeoff. One witness reported that the engine sounded abnormal, "like it was sputtering." Another witness reported seeing the airplane "at a very low altitude" and descending rapidly and the wings "dipping side to side." Subsequently, the airplane rolled 180° and descended nose down. Another witness reported seeing the airplane enter a left spiraling turn. The witnesses went to the wreckage site and reported that no fuel was leaking from the airplane; another witness confirmed that there was no fuel leakage or smell of aviation fuel.

Postaccident examinations of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The fuel tanks exhibited crushing damage; however, they were not breached. Less than 1 gallon of aviation fuel was recovered from both wing fuel tanks. Each fuel tank can hold 13 gallons of fuel, of which 1.75 gallons is unusable.

According to a refueling record, 15.70 gallons of fuel were added to the airplane 2 days before the accident, however the student present when fuel was added to the airplane was unsure how much was added or present in the fuel tanks. Immediately after refueling, the student flew with the accident instructor for 1.5 hours practicing touch-and-go landings. According to the airplane's operator, the accident instructor also flew two 30-minute-long discovery flights in the accident airplane after the last fueling.

The passenger on board did not provide a statement as to the events leading up to the accident, nor if the flight instructor accomplished a preflight inspection, to include checking the fuel quantity. Given the amount of fuel recovered from the wreckage, it is likely that the flight instructor did not check the fuel quantity before the flight, and the loss of engine power was due to fuel exhaustion.

The airport is surrounded by building structures and roadways, leaving few options for an off-airport landing in the event of an emergency. The accident site was adjacent to the end of the runway therefore it is likely that at the time the flight i

Probable Cause: A loss of engine power shortly after takeoff due to fuel exhaustion, and the exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack when the flight instructor made an abrupt turn back toward the runway, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin at an altitude too low for recovery. Contributing to the accident was an inadequate preflight inspection.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR18FA249
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Download report: Final report


FAA register: https://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=10789




Revision history:

04-Sep-2018 01:10 Geno Added
04-Sep-2018 01:25 Geno Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Nature, Source, Narrative]
04-Sep-2018 05:19 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
04-Sep-2018 11:21 Iceman 29 Updated [Phase, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
22-May-2020 09:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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