NTSB Identification: SEA94FA121.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, May 19, 1994 in LIVERMORE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/07/1995
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER 500A, registration: N601MK
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE AIRCRAFT HAD NOT FLOWN FOR 2 YEARS. BEFORE FLIGHT, A MECHANIC SAW EVIDENCE OF FUEL LEAKING AT DRAIN HOLES IN THE LEFT WING ROOT, JUST AFT OF THE MAIN CABIN DOOR. HE BROUGHT THIS TO THE ATTENTION OF THE PILOT-RATED PASSENGER, WHO SHORTLY THEREAFTER, DEPARTED IN THE AIRCRAFT WITH THE PILOT (PIC), THE AIRCRAFT OWNER & A PASSENGER/MECHANIC. ABOUT 14 MINUTES AFTER TAKEOFF, RADAR DATA SHOWED THE AIRCRAFT TRANSITIONING FROM A CLIMB TO A DESCENT, WHILE IN A 180 DEGREE TURN. ALSO, WITNESSES SAW SMOKE/FLAMES TRAILING FROM THE AIRCRAFT. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE AIRCRAFT IMPACTED TREES & POWER LINES, THEN IT CRASHED IN A SMALL FLAT FIELD IN HILLY TERRAIN. POST-CRASH EXAMINATION REVEALED MELTED ALUMINUM SPATTERS ON THE LEADING EDGE & UNDERSIDE OF THE LEFT HORIZONTAL STABILIZER. ALSO, 'FOCALIZED' FIRE DAMAGE WAS NOTED ON THE CABIN BEHIND THE DRAIN HOLES IN THE LEFT WING ROOT. TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL CARBOXYLIC ACID (MARIJUANA) WAS DETECTED IN THE PILOT-RATED PASSENGER'S BLOOD (0.004 UG/ML) & URINE (0.010 UG/ML).

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

A FUEL SYSTEM LEAK, INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT BY THE PILOT (PIC), AND BY THE NON-FLYING PILOT/PASSENGER INTENTIONALLY ALLOWING OPERATION OF THE AIRCRAFT WITH A KNOWN DEFICIENCY (FUEL LEAK). A FACTOR RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: THE LACK OF SUITABLE TERRAIN FOR A FORCED LANDING.

Full narrative available

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