NTSB Identification: LAX99LA164.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, April 25, 1999 in LAKE ELSINORE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/2000
Aircraft: Beech 36TC, registration: N36MN
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that the aircraft had been in a local paint shop for the past 60 days for repainting. This was the first flight after the aircraft was picked up. The pilot reported that he had not used a dipstick to accurately determine the fuel load on the airplane, but rather used a method relying on the gages and consumption calculations. On the morning of the accident, he decided to fly from his home base to an airport in the Southern California interior and did this using the right fuel tank. On engine start for the return leg, he selected the left tank and was en route when the engine smoothly quit. He switched fuel tanks, turned on the electric boost pump and attempted to obtain a restart, without success. As the aircraft descended, he selected a clear area on the shoulder of the interstate highway for a landing. Nearing touchdown, he had to maneuver to avoid a highway sign and the right wing contacted the back of a pickup truck. The pilot further reported that as the aircraft touched down, the engine restarted and went to full power. The aircraft was recovered without the necessity of disassembly or disturbance to any aircraft system. The fuel tanks and lines were intact with no evidence of leakage. One pint of fuel was drained from the left tank while the right tank contained 15 gallons. The fuel indicating system was examined and the right tank sending unit and cockpit gage was found to be accurate. The left tank sending unit and gage displayed erratic indications of quantity. On initial power up the left tank gage displayed 3/4 tank. Subsequent shutdowns and power ups of the system yielded tank quantity indications of 1/4, full, and 3/4 again. No discrepancies were noted with the engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Fuel starvation due to the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection procedures and his failure to accurately determine the amount of fuel onboard prior to departure. A factor in the accident was the erratic fuel quantity sensor in the left fuel tank.

Full narrative available

Index for Apr1999 | Index of months