The pilot stated that, before the flight, he conducted a preflight inspection but that he did not verify the fuel level in each fuel tank of the Beech A45.
During the initial climb, the engine lost power, and he then performed a 180° turn toward a field adjacent to the runway in Hollister, Calif. About halfway through the turn, he realized that insufficient altitude existed to complete the turn, and he subsequently initiated a forced landing on a road.
The airplane landed hard, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and wings and one serious injury.
Wreckage recovery personnel reported that they removed less than two gallons of fuel from the left wing fuel tank and more than 10 gallons of fuel from the right wing fuel tank.
The fuel selector was found positioned to the left wing fuel tank.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the total loss of engine power during initial climb due to fuel starvation and the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and improper fuel management.
NTSB Identification: WPR14LA117
This February 2014 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.