NTSB Identification: LAX02LA077.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 03, 2002 in San Simeon, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2004
Aircraft: Beech T-34B/D-45, registration: N34NL
Injuries: 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 airplane lost engine power during cruise, made an emergency landing, and collided with a fence. The pilot conducted a preflight of the airplane and noted that the left and right fuel tanks were filled to the "caps." He noted no discrepancies with the airplane or fuel system during the preflight inspection. After flying for about 2 hours the airplane experienced a complete loss of engine power. While established on final for a road, he discovered that he was unable to slow down enough to avoid oncoming traffic and maneuvered the airplane to the right of the road. The left gear contacted the asphalt and the airplane continued through a cattle fence, collapsing the nose landing gear. U.S. Navy search and rescue personnel responded to the accident site, and noted that there was no fuel in the fuel tanks. The pilot did not have the fuel valve open during preflight. He was only able to get a small sample of fuel from the low point drain (LPD), which was the residual fuel in the lines from the previous flight. The pilot inadvertently locked the LPD in the up (open) position during preflight, which would result in fuel leaking from the airplane once he turned the fuel valve on.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight of the airplane in which he failed to close the fuel drain resulting in a fuel leak and fuel exhaustion.

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