Improper Fuel Tanks Cause Airplane Crash | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

The FAA reported on the crash of a cruise flight in Floyd, Virginia, that began with a loss of power in one engine at approximately 10,500 feet.  The pilot continuously requested vectors at an airport 40 miles away, despite offers of 3 closer airports.  The second engine lost power just 10 miles later, resulting in an inevitable crash 30 miles from the pilot’s insisted destination.  A post crash analysis allowed researchers to disclose a more defined reason for difficulties within the plane: the inboard fuels tanks seemed to lack the slightest trace of fuel, and the outboard fuel tanks contained an uncertain amount of fuel.  All fuel selectors remained in the main position, and the primary tanks held 60 gallons altogether. 15 gallons of fuel per hour were being used at the height of 10,500 feet.  Records of the flight reported that the plane had been flying for four hours, including five landings and takeoffs, since its’ last service for fuel.  However, tests of both engines and the fuel system revealed no problems.

The underlying cause of this plane crash that resulted in 2 serious injuries was the position of the fuel tanks.  The fuel in the engines quickly depleted due to the incorrect position of the tanks.  Preflight inspections are absolutely essential to ensure safety.  A pilot must also become familiar with all areas, including airports, along the path to the intended destination.  When responsible for the lives of others, it is not only necessary to properly prepare for a safe flight, but it is crucial to predict and become capable of handling all possibilities of disaster.  I have settled numerous cases of passengers who have suffered injuries when such airplane precautions were not taken.  Please contact me, Jim Lewis, if you have experienced this loss or injury, and I will work to help settle your compensation.