Aircraft: Beech Bonanza. Injuries: None. Location: Elkhart Lake, Wis. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot departed for the planned 1 hour and 40 minute flight with 58 total gallons of fuel on board. While in cruise flight at 2,500 feet MSL, the engine lost power.
After switching fuel tanks and several unsuccessful engine restart attempts, he made a forced landing in a field.
The pilot stated that, at the time of the accident, he estimated that the left and right fuel tanks were about half full.
A post-accident examination showed about 35 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank and no fuel in the right fuel tank. The fuel selector was selected to the right tank. The right fuel tank was intact, and the left fuel tank bladder contained a tear, in which the fuel drained until it reached a level below the tear. No fuel was in the fuel lines from the right tank and through the engine fuel system, which was consistent with fuel starvation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.
NTSB Identification: CEN12LA074
This November 2011 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.