The pilot of the Beech Bonanza was on a cross-country flight that was supposed to take one hour and 50 minutes. At the start there were about 30 gallons of fuel in each wing tank, of which 27 gallons were usable fuel per side, which should have been enough fuel for the length of flight.
The flight was uneventful until the pilot started the descent toward Ingalls, Indiana.
As the Bonanza descended from 8,000 feet to 3,000 feet, the engine made “two pops” and “quit,” the pilot said.
His attempts to re-start the engine were unsuccessful. He declared an emergency and made an off-airport landing in a field.
During the landing the nose gear dug into the dirt and was torn from the airplane and the right wing rear spar fractured. Both wing fuel tanks remained intact.
During the post-accident investigation, one quart of fuel was drained from the left wing tank. The right wing tank contained about 30 gallons of fuel. The pilot could not recall where the fuel selector was positioned at the time of the power loss.
Investigators determined that it is likely that the pilot was feeding fuel to the engine from the left wing tank and did not switch to the right wing tank before the engine lost power or during the attempted restart.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident as the pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.
NTSB Identification: CEN13CA250
This May 2013 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.