NTSB Identification: FTW97LA149.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 03, 1997 in BARTLESVILLE, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/1997
Aircraft: Beech D35, registration: N940MD
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.

While en route, the owner/pilot switched the fuel selector to the right fuel tank, and observed that the fuel gauge indicated about 1/2 full. During a downwind entry for the runway, the engine sputtered and lost power. A forced landing was made in a field west of the runway. During the landing flare, the left wing struck the ground, then the nose hit. An FAA inspector reported that the pilot had positioned the fuel selector to the right tank; however, he had left the fuel tank indicator (gauge) at the left tank position. The gauge was indicating 1/2 full, and the left fuel tank was about 1/2 full. The right fuel tank was empty. The pilot had recently purchased the airplane and was not familiar with the fuel indicator gauge switch, which had to be positioned to the fuel tank being used in order to indicate fuel remaining in that tank.

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

the pilot's selection of an empty fuel tank, which resulted in fuel starvation and loss of engine power. A factor relating to the accident was: the pilot's lack of familiarity with the aircraft.

Full narrative available

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