NTSB Identification: LAX99LA015.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 25, 1998 in PALMDALE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/21/2000
Aircraft: Beech 36, registration: N36EL
Injuries: 3 Minor,1 Uninjured.

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 pilot stated that an annual inspection of the airplane had been completed 2 months earlier. The prior flight was flown from Chino, California, to Sacramento, California, and back to Chino without refueling after landing. The fuel computer/totalizer indicated that 58 gallons were left onboard following the trip. On the accident flight, the pilot leaned the mixture and engaged the autopilot after leveling out. A short time later, the engine began surging. The pilot enriched the mixture and turned the fuel boost on low, and the engine lost total power. He went through the emergency checklist, maintaining boost pump on and switching through the fuel tanks. After realizing he could not make the airport, he decided to land on a road and hit a truck. Examination of the wreckage revealed no fuel leaks were found in the lines or tanks. During disassembly, no fuel was found in the right main tank. Six gallons were in the left main tank; 7 gallons were in the left tip tank, and 2 gallons were in the right tip tank. The fuel selector was positioned to the left tip tank. A wet smear caked with dirt was present on the left tip tank from the filler port aft along the outboard side toward the trailing edge tip. The stopper type filler caps for the tip tanks were found loose in the filler ports. Also, the rubber stoppers were found to be cracked and deteriorated. The continuity of the fuel system was established. The aircraft master switch was energized and the sending unit floats were manipulated by hand and found that the gauges read high. The engine was restarted with the aid of serviceable propeller and fuel. The engine accelerated normally to 1,700 rpm where a magneto check was performed, and with a 60-rpm drop for both magnetos.

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

The pilot's improper management of his fuel supply which resulted in fuel starvation. Factors in the accident were the inadequate annual inspection which resulted in fuel siphoning, and a high reading fuel gage.

Full narrative available

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