DETROIT – The National Transportation Safety Board released Sunday details of its investigation into a fatal 2018 plane crash.
A small plane containing a family coming to Detroit for their daughter’s volleyball tournament crashed on June 24, 2018 near the intersection of Milton and Eldon avenues, west of Van Dyke.
Greg Boaz, 54, and Julie Boaz, 48, were traveling from Texas with Greg’s 17-year-old son, Peyton Boaz. The teen survived the crash and was able to escape the fiery wreckage.
The initial investigation believed the plane may have been out of fuel and had a landing gear issue. The report released Sunday said the investigation into the aircraft revealed the fuel pump was intact and only showed damage from the crash.
The report claims that Greg Boaz’s flight method differed from the lean-of-peak method by Vitatoe Aviation, causing the plane to consume fuel at about 21 gallons per hour. According to the the Cessna 210′s Information Manual, the plane consumes fuel on an average of 14.3-17.8 gallons per hour and The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association lists 14.2-15.6 gallons per hour for a Cessna 210.
According to Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation regulations, Title 14 CFR 91.151 stipulates that no person may begin a flight unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly for 30 minutes beyond the first point of intended landing.
The NTSB’s investigation report said the plane had used 71.6 gallons of fuel before the fuel flow dropped to zero and the post-accident engine examination did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation during the flight.
At 7:51 p.m., the pilot had contacted the tower at Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport, said the plane’s landing gear was not functioning properly and began circling the airport. The pilot told the tower “I just burnt out of fuel. We’re totally out,” shortly after being cleared for landing, just before the crash.
The investigation by the NTSB and FAA found the left main landing gear was fully retracted in the aircraft’s wheel well and was secured in place with its uplock. The report said that the left landing gear’s downlock switch appeared to bent and jammed in the closed position.
The right main and nose landing gear were found fully extended by investigators.
On May 6, 2018, the pilot reported to his insurance company that the oil gauge rod fractured during a flight from Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport, Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Pearland Regional Airport, Houston, Texas. A mechanic looked at the craft and said there was only about 2 inches of the oil gauge rod still attached and he was able to extract another 3 inches of the oil gauge rod.
The report said the mechanic had found the oil filter contained significant metal debris and told the pilot that the engine needed to be overhauled. The pilot reportedly said he had just purchased the airplane and couldn’t afford to overhaul the engine, leading the mechanic to place a red “Do Not Fly” placard on the pilot-side yoke.
A few weeks later, the report said the pilot returned to the mechanic with another oil filter for inspect and told the mechanic he had researched online on how to remove metal from an engine by flushing it with diesel fuel. The mechanic said that there was no metal present when he cut open the oil filter for inspection, but still told the pilot that he should not fly the airplane until the engine had been overhauled.
The investigation found the Cessna’s oil filter had contained no metallic material or contamination after the crash and the engine examination revealed no mechanical issues or damages.
The NTSB ruled the defining event of the crash was fuel exhaustion.