NTSB Identification: FTW96LA144.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 09, 1996 in CLINTON, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/1996
Aircraft: Beech V35A, registration: N8323N
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

During the night cross-country flight, the engine lost power and a forced landing ensued. The airplane touched down with a 'heavy vertical impact.' Examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel tank selector was in the right tank position; however, the right wing tank was empty. The left tank contained approximately 9 gallons of fuel. The pilot reported that he was operating on the right tank when the power loss occurred, and that he switched to the left tank and attempted to restart the engine several times without success. All 12 of the spark plugs were found to have excessive plug gap, and testing of 2 of the plugs revealed that they would not fire over 40 PSI of pressure. Properly gapped spark plugs should fire steadily when tested up to pressures of 115 to 135 psi.

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

the pilot's improper positioning of the fuel selector which resulted in fuel starvation. Factors were the dark night light condition and the worn spark plugs.

Full narrative available

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