Aircraft: Beech Baron. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Las Cruces, N.M. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot said he added 31 gallons of fuel, bringing the total amount of fuel to 70 gallons prior to departure. The fuel gauges indicated the main tanks were one-half to three-quarters full, with the remainder in the auxiliary tanks. The fuel selectors were on the main tanks.
After a 10-minute flight, the pilot executed an ILS approach in visual conditions.
Ten miles from the runway threshold, the right engine started surging. Fuel flow fluctuated between 28 and 2 gph. The pilot advanced the throttle, propeller, and mixture controls and turned on the fuel boost pumps. The airplane yawed and he identified the right engine as having lost power. He feathered the propeller and secured the engine. Shortly after, the left engine lost power and the airplane crashed. The right engine was partially separated from the right wing.
An FAA inspector examined the wreckage and said the right propeller was not feathered and both fuel selectors were in the auxiliary tank position. The left engine throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were full forward. The right engine throttle and propeller control were only slightly retarded, and the mixture control was in the IDLE CUTOFF position. Both fuel selectors were positioned on the auxiliary tanks, but the fuel gauge selector switch was on the main tanks.
In his written statement, the inspector estimated there should have had about seven gallons
in each auxiliary tank, and he computed this to be the fuel remaining after a flight from the departure to the accident site. The inspector also noted a placard affixed on the instrument panel, warning: DO NOT TAKE OFF IF FUEL QUANTITY GAGE INDICATES IN YELLOW ARC OR WITH LESS THAN 13 GALLONS IN EACH MAIN TANK.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to properly manage the airplane’s fuel, which resulted in engine failure due to fuel starvation.
NTSB Identification: CEN13LA110
This December 2012 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.