Wed, Jun 16, 2004
Pilots Say Fuel Exhaustion Common On T-210 Centurions
A Cessna T-210 that crashed in Wichita (KS) June 4th apparently
ran out of fuel -- a problem that appears to be all too common with
the popular single-engine aircraft.
The Wichita Eagle reports the Cessna landed in a floodway known
as the Big Ditch, not far from the intersection of Interstate 235
and Maple St. The family of four on board suffered minor injuries.
The aircraft was lifted out of the concrete floodway by crane.
But why did it run out of fuel?
To find out, the Eagle went out to the ramp and asked pilots.
"It's something that pilots are familiar with," said Dave Dewhirst,
owner of Sabris Corp., a Wichita flight school. "Unless you are
watching when the lineman fills up the plane, you may take off with
less fuel than you think you have."
FAA documentation appears to back
that up. You might recall a 1994 AD on the issue, ordering pilots
to visually inspect the amount of fuel in the tank. It required
owners to placard the wings near the fuel ports, warning operators
to slow down the rate of fuel transfer while pumping in the last
five gallons. The AD also required the fuel level be rechecked
after a two-minute interval.
And yet, the FAA says fuel exhaustion accidents are all too
common in Centurions. "FAA is still receiving accident and incident
reports related to fuel exhaustion on Cessna 210 Series aircraft,"
according to an information posting on the FAA website. But it
blamed pilots for not complying with the 1994 AD.
The Cessna Pilots' Association warns every new 210 owner about
the issue in a letter it sends out as soon as it learns of the
"First, we invite the new owner to join the organization, but we
also include safety and experience information, including the
wording on fueling to full," said CPA spokesman John Frank.
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