Instrument lesson ends fatally

This March 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Beech Baron.
Location: Munster, Ind.
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The purpose of the flight was so that the left seat pilot could receive instrument flight instruction. The Beech was equipped with a throw-over yoke, which was found in the left pilot position.

Radar data for the accident flight showed that the airplane had flown a non-precision instrument approach to the airport. The radar data further showed that after starting a descent, the airplane continued to decelerate and its altitude continued to decrease. Radar indicated the Beech got as slow as 87 knots, then entered a spin to the left from which it did not recover.

Performance data for the airplane indicated there is a possibility of stall when the airplane is between 69 and 113 knots depending on the angle of bank and flap configuration.

Witnesses to the accident said it sounded as if an engine was sputtering. No fuel was found in the fuel lines to the left engine. Because of damage to the cockpit, it could not be determined what setting the fuel selector valve was on at the time of the crash.

Probable cause: Fuel starvation for an undetermined reason, which led to the loss of power on the left engine. Additional causes were the pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, which led to his loss of control of the airplane. The flight instructor’s inability to take remedial action because the airplane was not equipped with a full set of dual flight controls was also a factor.

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