While finishing his first solo cross country flight on May 22, 2021, student pilot and motivational speaker Brian Parsley found himself in the scary position of losing complete power on his single-engine Cessna 150 after running out of fuel. Rather than panicking, Parsley calmly contacted the tower below who told him that he was cleared for the nearest runway. Parsley stated that he couldn’t make it that far and instead told them that he was over a residential area but saw a clear field nearby. After getting the go-ahead to land, Parsley did so in the safest manner possible.
On May 22, 2021, Student Pilot Brian Parsley was completed his solo long cross country flight. Approximately 12 miles from airport started experiencing rough engine. Assuming it was “carb ice” took appropriate measures. The camera was started after it cleared to show instructor should it happen again. Shortly after communicating to ATC the video picks up. This was more than just a “near death” experience. It was an incredible learning opportunity for others as well.
Here’s Parsley explaining what went through his mind as his plane was losing power.
The first ten seconds was panic mode it’s almost like this disbelief is this really happening …I could hear my confident calm tone begin to shift and change but after about 10 seconds I knew I was faced with absolute incredible task saturation within that moment and the strange thing began to happen because I’m looking around and I’m saying okay I know there’s a field here …I had to make a choice okay and once I kind of said okay this is where I’m going it was almost like an out of body experience in a way although I was consciously there and muscle memory kicked in.
Parsley talks about how it was ultimately his responsibility that the plane ran out of fuel.
The aircraft ran out of fuel and this was 100% my responsibility at the end of the day. I did do my flight plan, checked fuel, and all necessary checks prior to leaving. It’s also worth noting I’ve flown the same route with my instructor. So using this assumption and the fact I did my flight planning correctly I flew. This was the wrong decision and the biggest takeaway for me. I will get fuel going forward every time I land regardless of what gages state or distance. That mistake could’ve cost a life. This was more than just a “near death” experience. It was an incredible learning opportunity for others as well.