NTSB Identification: IAD98LA084.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 26, 1998 in BECKLEY, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/28/2000
Aircraft: Beech BE24, registration: N9711L
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 airplane was in cruise flight, approximately 15 minutes after departure, when the engine started to surge and sputter. The pilot turned to the departure airport and initiated a climb. He said he changed the fuel selector from the right tank position to the left, but '...nothing happened.' He moved the fuel selector back to the right tank, and selected a golf course for a forced landing site where the airplane struck trees and came to rest in a pond. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the right fuel tank was completely empty, not contaminated by water, and that the fuel selector was in the right tank position. The left tank contained approximately 27 gallons of fuel and an unknown quantity of water. The pilot reported he had 30 gallons of fuel on board at takeoff. The fuel system was examined and no evidence of fuel was found in the engine-driven fuel pump, fuel injector, or flow divider manifold. No evidence of fuel was found in the fuel line to the fuel pressure gauge. Examination of records revealed the airplane's most recent fuel service was for 23 gallons of fuel and that the airplane accumulated approximately 2 hours of flight time after the service.

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

The pilot's mismanagement of the fuel supply in that the fuel selector was selected to the improper fuel tank, which resulted in fuel starvation and the loss of engine power.

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