NTSB Identification: LAX02LA117.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 27, 2002 in Rio Linda, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Beech A35, registration: N8428A
Injuries: 4 Serious.

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 landed "flat and hard" off the end of the runway then slid into a creek bed after a loss of engine power in the takeoff initial climb. Ground witnesses said the airplane achieved about 100 feet of altitude after liftoff then the engine coughed and lost power. The pilot said that he ran the engine up off the tip tanks, and after he was satisfied that the engine was running smoothly, switched to the left main tank for takeoff. After the engine coughed and quit, he switched on the electric auxiliary fuel pump and ensured that he was operating off the left main tank, but did not have time to attempt a restart. A California Highway Patrol pilot officer was the first to arrive on the accident scene and turned the tip tank fuel selector valve from the LEFT to the OFF position. Subsequent examination of the selector panel by an FAA inspector found the main fuel valve in the right main tank position; however, this was after the fire department said it's personnel had "moved several switches and levers" in order to secure the cockpit. Fuel tank documentation found that the left and right mains contained about 7.5 gallons and 5 gallons, respectively; the left tip tank was empty, and the right tip tank destroyed. There was no sign of fuel leakage on the ground below the left tip tank. The fuel supply line to the carburetor was loosened and about 1 tablespoon of fuel was recovered from the line. The Owner's Manual states several times that "in no case should a takeoff be made if the fuel indicators are in the yellow band or, with less than 10 gallons of fuel in each of the main tanks." According to Raytheon Aircraft, this warning is due to the location of the fuel pickups in the tanks on this model aircraft, which would allow unporting and fuel supply interruption with steep attitudes, turning type ground maneuvers during takeoffs, or uncoordinated flight. Following recovery of the airplane to a salvage yard, the engine was mounted on a test stand, and it started on the first attempt and accelerated smoothly with normal throttle response and magneto operation.

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

the loss of engine power as a result of fuel starvation due to the pilot's inadequate fuel system management and failure to follow procedures and directives in the Pilot Operating Handbook listed by the manufacturer.

Full narrative available

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