Plane that landed on northeast road had enough fuel to reach airport: report

Failure to switch from empty outboard fuel tanks to inboard tanks with adequate fuel led to the emergency landing of a small airplane on a northeast Calgary street in April, a Transportation Safety Board of Canada report has found.

The fact-gathering investigation details the incident on April 25, when the Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain owned by Super T Aviation made an emergency landing in the northbound lanes of 36th Street N.E. around 5:45 a.m. None of the crew members or passengers was injured.

After departing the Medicine Hat Airport, the aircraft climbed to a cruising altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level and the crew switched the fuel selectors from inboard to outboard fuel tanks.

Before the plane began its descent to the Calgary airport, the two-person crew went through a routine checklist. But when the aircraft was about 12 nautical miles south of its designated runway, the right engine started to surge. The first officer ran an engine failure inflight checklist, but a “cause check,” which directs the crew to check fuel flow, quantity and fuel selector position, was not completed, the report states.

Around 5:42 a.m. and at 5:43 a.m., the flight crew made two Mayday calls and informed the airport control tower they would be landing on a road.

“The crew is to monitor the fuel level in the outboard tanks and, either if they run low on fuel or as part of the checklist, they move the selectors to inboard,” said Jeremy Warkentin, regional senior technical investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

“When we got to the scene of the aircraft and did our examination, there was no fuel in the outboard tanks at that point and . . . approximately 40 gallons remained in the inboard tanks.”

The report states that Super T Aviation’s normal procedures checklist had two differences from the checklist published by the aircraft manufacturer, including a step in the manufacturer’s checklist to check that the fuel selectors are set to inboard before descent.

Full article: Calgary Sun