2013 C-182 Freemont Fuel Exhaustion MI Non-Fatal Non-Fatal Single-Engine

C-182C Non-Fatal Freemont, MI May 18, 2013

The pilot reported that the purpose of the accident flight was to release four skydivers at
10,500 feet mean sea level (msl). The pilot reported that, before the accident flight, he used a
calibrated dipstick to determine how much fuel was on board the airplane. The left and right
fuel tanks contained 10 and 5 gallons of fuel, respectively. He noted that the skydiving flight
typically took a single pass over the landing zone, which required about 20 to 25 minutes of
flight time and 8 gallons of fuel; however, the accident flight required two passes over the
landing zone at 10,500 feet msl, which added about 2 to 5 minutes to the accident flight. He
reported that the flight climbed to 10,500 feet msl and the skydivers were released without any
anomalies or malfunctions with the airplane. The pilot immediately initiated a descent to
reenter the traffic pattern at the departure airport, and the airplane experienced a loss of
engine power while on the downwind leg. A helicopter was approaching the airport at a similar
altitude, which delayed the turn onto the base leg. Believing he had insufficient altitude to
reach the runway, the pilot performed a forced landing to a field. The nose landing gear
collapsed shortly after touchdown, and the airplane subsequently nosed over. Following the
accident, the pilot reported to several individuals that the airplane "ran out of fuel,"
which resulted in the loss of engine power while in the traffic pattern. Additionally, the pilot
stated that there were no mechanical issues with the engine before the loss of engine power.
During a postaccident examination, 3.5 gallons of fuel were recovered from the airplane.
According to the Pilot Operating Handbook, the airplane has 3 gallons of unusable fuel
while operating in level flight and 10 gallons of unusable fuel while in flight attitudes other
than level flight; therefore, the airplane did not have enough fuel for the accident flight.

Read the NTSB report.