General Aviation News regularly reprints summaries of accident reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the USA and this recently mentioned report involving a Cessna 182 dating from August 2008 is well worth repeating. The crash near Caldwell Texas resulted in two serious injuries and substantial damage to the aircraft involved. According to the brief report summary:
Prior to departure the airplane was filled with approximately 24 gallons of fuel. An airport security camera recorded the airplane being refueled. The video showed that the pilot, after refueling, did not put the right wing’s fuel cap back on. During the cross-country flight, the Cessna engine lost power. The pilot attempted to conduct a forced landing to a nearby airport. The airplane did not have enough altitude to glide to the airport. It hit a light pole and crashed into a athletic field near the airport.
Besides the fact that the pilot was caught on camera not putting the fuel cap back on, the on-site investigation found the right wing’s fuel cap itself on the ground near the aircraft’s wing (the left wing’s fuel cap was still in place). Moreover, blue streaks were found on fuselage and the right wing had fuel streaks that were consistent with 100LL aviation fuel being siphoned from the fuel tank during flight.
In other words and the next time you refuel – be sure to replace and tighten the fuel cap!