Failure to activate fuel pump leads to crash

This February 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Aircraft: Beech Bonanza.

Location: Brunswick, Ga.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was at an altitude of 7,000 feet MSL when he decided to switch fuel tanks. He did not activate the electric fuel pump before moving the fuel selector. The engine lost power. The pilot declared an emergency, and set the airplane up for best glide to the nearest airport, which was on an island. The pilot still did not activate the electric fuel pump. The airplane lacked sufficient altitude to reach the airport and came down in the water.

The post-accident investigation determined that when the electric fuel pump was activated, the engine ran normally when the fuel tanks were switched.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to activate the electric fuel pump following a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

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