This March 2009 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 A36. Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor. Location: Laredo, Texas. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: A CFI and a non-flying passenger were on board the airplane. The passenger was in the left seat. The fuel selector was set to the left fuel tank as they approached the airport.
While in the traffic pattern, at an altitude of approximately 800 feet AGL, the engine lost power. The CFI directed the non-rated passenger to position the fuel selector valve to the right tank. The CFI did not perform the published restart checklist, specifically, he did not activate the fuel boost pump. However, the passenger reported that the CFI switched the tanks several times to ensure that the fuel selector was seated in the right fuel tank detent. When engine power was not restored, the CFI elected to perform a forced gear-up landing in a parking lot. No pre-accident mechanical issues were found with aircraft which would have precluded a restart of the engine.
Probable cause: The flight instructor’s improper fuel management resulting in an engine failure due to fuel starvation. The instructor’s failure to properly complete the restart checklist was also a factor.
For more information: NTSB.gov