NTSB Identification: BFO96LA021.
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Accident occurred Monday, November 13, 1995 in MANASSAS, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/17/1997
Aircraft: BEECH E55, registration: N36SV
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 estimated that there was about 60 gallons of fuel onboard the airplane at the time of departure, of which more than two thirds was in the main tanks. The pilot reported that during ground operations, he switched the fuel selector valves to the aux position in an attempt to conserve fuel in the main tanks. He said that he intended to switch back to the main tanks before takeoff, in accordance with the checklist procedure, but forgot. The pilot reported that as the airplane lifted off and he reached for the landing gear handle, the left engine lost power and the airplane snap rolled to the left. Witnesses reported that the airplane impacted the ground on its left wing and cartwheeled beside the runway. A bulletin from the aircraft manufacturer stated, '...If the auxiliary tanks are...selected for takeoff...it is possible for air to enter the auxiliary tank outlet, leading to power interruption.' There was no evidence of preimpact mechanical failure.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: failure of the pilot to maintain control of the airplane, when the left engine lost power shortly after liftoff. Related factors were the pilot's failure to follow the checklist procedure, and his failure to ensure that the fuel selector was in the proper position for takeoff, which resulted in fuel starvation to the left engine. Full narrative available
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