NTSB Identification: FTW96FA373.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Thursday, September 05, 1996 in CORSICANA, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/14/1997
Aircraft: Beech D55, registration: N873LB
Injuries: 1 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 airplane was on a night cross-country freight flight. A pilot witness reported that the pilot told him, on 122.85, that his left engine had failed. A second pilot witness reported hearing the pilot transmit that the engine came back on line when he switched to the aux tank, but he decided to make a precautionary landing prior to Dallas anyway. The pilot transmitted to ATC: 'I will contact you when I get on the ground and let you know the name of the airport.' The airport had pilot controlled lighting, on 122.80, which included a VASI approach system. The airplane was found with the gear down, the flaps down, the left propeller at low pitch but not feathered, and the right engine throttle at idle. The fuel selectors were found with the right one on the main tank and the left one on the aux tank. No fuel was found in the left wing tanks. The second pilot witness stated that she flew the airplane the night before, and that fuel had siphoned from the left main tank, which she reported to dispatch upon landing. Postcrash examination of the left wing main fuel port collar revealed deformations in the collar. The pilot had completed his Part 135 check ride 3 days before the accident.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain minimum control airspeed which resulted in the loss of control. Factors were the bent collar of the left main fuel tank refueling neck which resulted in fuel siphoning from the tank in flight, the pilot's failure to follow procedures to cross feed fuel from the right main tank to the left engine which led to left engine power loss by fuel starvation, the pilot's lack of total experience in the make and model of airplane, and the dark night light condition.

Full narrative available

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