NTSB Identification: LAX05LA258.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 03, 2005 in Rancho Murieta, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Beech A23, registration: N1456L
Injuries: 2 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 airplane collided with terrain about 1/4 mile short of the destination airport following a total loss of engine power. The student pilot reported that while conducting the airplane preflight inspection, the certified flight instructor (CFI) interrupted her requesting that she (the student) put some items in the baggage compartment. The student did not check the airplane's fuel quantity and could not recall if the instructor finished the preflight. Shortly thereafter, they departed for the 6-nautical-mile flight. While on the base leg of the traffic pattern at the destination airport, the engine lost power. The instructor took control of the airplane and attempted to land at the airport. The student pilot did not recall the instructor manipulating the fuel selector or turning the fuel pump on. A post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the left fuel tank was full of fuel and the right fuel tank was empty. The right fuel tank had not been breached and there was no evidence of leakage from other system components and lines. The fuel selector valve was positioned on the right tank. The airplane's manual states that takeoff is prohibited with less than 11 gallons in each tank. An examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of pre-mishap mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: fuel starvation due to the inadequate fuel system management by both pilots. Also causal was the inadequate preflight inspection by both the instructor and student and their failure to verify the fuel quantities in each fuel tank, and, the instructor's inadequate supervision of the flight.
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