NTSB Identification: DEN02LA064.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 29, 2002 in Cortez, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Beech 35, registration: N404B
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 took off at 0638, drawing fuel from the left main tank. At 0739, he switched to the right main tank. At 0840, he switched to the auxiliary fuel tank. As he approached his destination, the pilot noted that the main fuel tanks were half full and the auxiliary fuel tank was over half full. He reduced power and began a slow descent. As he approached the traffic pattern, he switched back to the left main fuel tank. On approach, he lowered the landing gear and as he started to lower the flaps, he noticed the airspeed had decreased so he added power. The airplane "started to wobble and became hard to handle," so the pilot applied full power. The airspeed "was not responding very quickly." He confirmed the fuel selector was on the left tank and the fuel boost pump was on. After clearing a rock wall cliff and ravine, the pilot flew underneath power lines and the airplane struck the ground. Flow testing of the carburetor at 10 pounds psi revealed an external leak at the idle diaphragm. Further tests indicated the carburetor would run rich at low power settings and lean at high power settings. The fuel pump was able to maintain 20 gph at 10 psi and 500 rpm. At 1,000 rpm, a leak was noted at the lower splitline surface. At 2,500 rpm, the fuel pump maintained 160 gph at 12 psi.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: an inadvertent stall as the pilot attempted to clear a cliff and ravine and avoid power lines, resulting in a collision with the ground. Contributing factors were a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, a leaking carburetor and fuel pump, and the cliff, ravine, and power lines. Full narrative available
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