NTSB Identification: BFO89FA062.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41606.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 23, 1989 in CLUSTER SPRINGS, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/1992
Aircraft: BEECH 77, registration: N18257
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 STU PILOT WAS EN ROUTE WHEN SHE RADIOED THE ENGINE WAS LOSING POWER. ACCORDING TO ANOTHER PLT, THE STU PLT SOUNDED PANIC-STRIKEN DURING THE TRANSMISSION. THE ACFT CRASHED INTO A SMALL POND, SURROUNDED BY AN OPEN FIELD. DAMAGE TO THE ACFT, INDICATED THE ACFT STRUCK THE POND IN A STEEP NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE. EXAMINATION OF THE ACFT DID NOT REVEAL EVIDENCE OF MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION. INSPECTION OF THE LEFT WING SURFACE BEHIND THE FUEL TANK FILLER NECK, INDICATED THE FUEL CAP WAS UNFASTENED AND LAYING ON THE WING INFLIGHT. A FLIGHT TEST IN A SIMILAR ACFT WITH AN UNFASTENED LEFT FUEL CAP REVEALED THE CAP MOVED AFT AND WAS HELD BY ITS CHAIN. DURING THE TEST, FUEL SIPHONED FROM THE LEFT FUEL TANK. FUEL PERFORMANCE CALCULATIONS INDICATED THE ACFT WOULD HAVE USED UP TO 13 GAL DURING THE FLIGHT. IT HAD A 30 GAL FUEL CAPACITY, 15 GAL PER TANK.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO PERFORM AN ADEQUATE PREFLIGHT WHICH RESULTED IN AN UNLATCHED FUEL FILLER CAP. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MONITOR THE FUEL SUPPLY DURING THE FLIGHT.

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