NTSB Identification: MIA97FA239
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, August 23, 1997 in BROWNSVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: Beech 95-B55, registration: N5678K
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.

Two witnesses about 15 miles northeast of the crash site, reported they heard and saw an airplane at low altitude and low airspeed. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) found Beech 95-B55, N5678K, in an open pasture on the following morning. No radio calls were recorded from the airplane before the accident. Examination of the fuel tanks revealed the right auxiliary tank contained about 1 quart of green fuel, and the left main and auxiliary tanks were found dry, as was the right main fuel tank. There was no fuel spillage observed at the crash site, either on the ground, or trees, and there were no breaches found throughout the fuel system. The fuel supply lines were found clear and unobstructed. Overall visual examination of the engine compartment and airframe did not reveal any evidence of fuel stains or fuel leakage. The pilot's son reported that company had a policy to 'top off' each aircraft with fuel after each flight. The load manifest for this flight indicated that there was '74 gallons' of fuel in the main tanks, and '60 gallons' of fuel in the auxiliary tanks. The 95-B55, had a total fuel capacity of 142 gallons, of which 136 gallons were usable fuel. However, no record was available to determine when the airplane was last refueled. A direct flight from the departure point to the crash site was 469 statute miles. Calculations showed the duration of flight would have been about 2.3 hours, and would have required about 57.5 gallons of fuel.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight, and his improper in-flight planning/decision, which led to fuel exhaustion and a forced landing at night on unprepared terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: darkness, and the lack of a suitable area for an emergency landing.

Full narrative available

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