Loose fuel cap cuts a flight short

General Aviation News will often reprint excerpts from US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident reports, including one from December 2009 that involved a Cessna 182 in Bowie (Texas) that led to substantial damage to the aircraft and one minor injury – all because of a loose fuel cap (Check out another fuel cap incident we reported about back in 2010: “Don’t forget to tighten the fuel cap”).

Apparently, the pilot had topped off both fuel tanks with 40 gallons of fuel for each before departing on a cross-country flight. However, the pilot also told investigators that he had difficulty securing the fuel cap on the right wing tank.

After around two hours into the flight, the Cessna’s engine stopped producing power with the fuel selector on the left tank whose gauge read empty. The pilot then attempted to switch tanks but he was unable to restart the engine – forcing him to make a landing to a snow-covered field causing substantial damage to the aircraft’s wings, firewall and fuselage.

Both wing fuel tanks were empty with the right wing fuel cap being missing. Hence, the pilot’s failure to secure the fuel cap as well as monitor the available fuel supply was ruled as the cause of the crash.

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