On the Record: Cessna T210K


Cessna T210K

Boise, Idaho/Injuries: 1 Uninjured

The pilot reported that he departed on a time-sensitive cargo flight with about 30 gallons of fuel in each tank. The flight was uneventful until the airplane was about 650 feet above ground level and about 2 miles from the destination airport when the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot attempted to troubleshoot the loss of power by activating both fuel boost pumps, but he did not verify the fuel selector position or attempt an engine restart, and the engine power was not restored. He configured the airplane to land on an interstate adjacent to the airport and activated the landing gear; however, the gear did not extend before the airplane impacted the road.

The pilot reported that he was distracted with some paperwork during the flight and “failed to switch tanks” at the halfway point as he had initially planned. Further, the pilot experienced high workload during the descent due to weather reports and other traffic, and he did not use the descent checklist, which included a task to “manage fuel.” Post-accident examination of the fuel system revealed that about 22 gallons of fuel remained in the left fuel tank and that there was no fuel in the right fuel tank. The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the engine that would have precluded normal operation. Further examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies to the landing gear extension and locking mechanisms. According to the airplane manufacturer, the landing gear hydraulic pump is powered by the engine; therefore, it is likely that the landing gear failed to deploy as a result of the power loss.

Probable cause(s): The pilot's improper in-flight fuel management due to distraction and self-induced pressure, which resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to conduct the descent checklist, which included a task to manage fuel.

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