The Beech A36 departed on the accident flight, and after flying 1 hour, 18 minutes using fuel from the left tank, the pilot switched fuel tanks, and the engine lost power.
A passenger reported that there was a strong headwind, so the pilot was diverting for fuel.
Attempts to restore power were unsuccessful.
During the ensuing forced landing, the airplane’s right wing collided with a tree before the airplane hit terrain near Wann, Okla., resulting in three serious injuries.
The pilot said that, before departure he had 20 gallons of fuel in each wing fuel tank.
However, a post-accident examination revealed no fuel in the uncompromised left wing fuel tank. The right wing fuel tank had been compromised, but there were no fuel stains on the ground and there was no odor of fuel in the immediate area.
Later, the engine was functionally tested and operated satisfactorily at all power settings.
The airplane likely departed with minimal fuel available in the right wing fuel tank. When the pilot selected the right tank during cruise flight, the engine likely lost power due to fuel exhaustion.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and planning and inflight fuel management, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion and a subsequent forced landing in an area of unsuitable terrain.
NTSB Identification: CEN14LA218
This April 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.