While the Beech A36 was on final approach to the airport in Tupelo, Miss., about 600 feet above ground level, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot subsequently made a forced landing, and the plane hit the ground, became airborne, crossed a road, and then came to rest short of the intended runway.
First responders reported that they found the fuel selector valve positioned to the left tank and that they observed fuel leaking from the left wing, however, an exact amount of fuel could not be ascertained.
The recovery company reported that the right wing fuel tank contained 17 gallons of fuel and that the left wing fuel tank contained less than 1 gallon of fuel.
Although blue streaking was observed on the aft portion of the left wing, it could not be determined if the blue streaks were due to fuel leaking during the flight or the accident sequence or before the day of the accident.
Examination of the engine revealed carbon deposits on all of the cylinders’ piston faces, which is consistent with operating the engine at too lean of a fuel mixture. Following a normal engine test run, minimal carbon deposits were noted. Although some fuel was in the left wing tank at the time of the accident, it was likely less than the usable amount required, as indicated by the lean fuel mixture at the engine. It is likely that the total loss of engine power was due to fuel starvation.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.
NTSB Identification: ERA13LA331
This July 2013 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.