Aircraft: Beech A36. Injuries: None. Location: Rock Springs, Wyo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that the flight was uneventful, so she continued past her original destination to another airport. Shortly thereafter, she noticed fuel streaming from the left fuel tank cap and noted that the left fuel tank gauge indicated that the tank was about 3/4 full.
She continued the flight toward the new destination while continuing to use fuel from the left fuel tank. As the airplane neared the destination the fuel tank gauge indicated the tank was about 1/2 full. The airplane was at an altitude of about 1,500 AGL when the engine lost power.
The pilot switched fuel tanks and advanced both the throttle and mixture control levers in attempt to restore engine power, but the engine did not restart. She made an off-airport landing to an open field.
During a post-accident interview, she stated that the fuel cap was not secured properly after refueling. As a result, fuel was siphoned from that fuel tank during the flight. Further, because she had chosen to continue operating on that fuel tank, the engine lost power due to fuel starvation. Investigators determined pressure differential likely resulted in the inaccurate fuel gauge indication.
Probable cause: The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation because of the incorrectly installed fuel cap. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to continue the flight using fuel from the left fuel tank after she observed fuel streaming from the left fuel tank cap.
NTSB Identification: WPR12LA309
This June 2012 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.