NTSB Identification: CHI06FA152.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 08, 2006 in Gregory, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Beech B36TC, registration: N65EL
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 airplane struck trees and terrain during an emergency landing following a reported loss of engine power. The airplane was being flown on its first flight after an annual inspection. A cylinder was replaced, a turbocharger leak was fixed, and the right fuel bladder was removed, repaired, and reinstalled during the annual inspection. The fuel from the removed fuel bladder was recovered, stored, and was returned to the bladder when it was reinstalled. The airplane was also serviced with about 67 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline. The fuel in the airplane's fuel tanks were reported to have been checked by observing samples collected from the fuel sumps prior to the flight. The airplane battery was low and external power was used to start the engine for the flight. A replay of radar data showed the airplane was at 5,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) and was traveling eastward at about 170 knots groundspeed when it checked on with approach. About 1907, the radar data replay showed the airplane descending to 4,800 feet and its groundspeed slowing to 160 knots. The air traffic controller issued the flight a descent clearance to 3,000 feet MSL. The pilot responded back that he had an emergency, had lost engine power, had switched fuel tanks, and needed the closest airfield. The pilot was given a heading of 360 degrees to an airfield. While en route to the airfield, the pilot was asked if his engine was completely out and if he was gliding into the airport. The pilot reported that was correct. About 1910, the air traffic controller pointed out another closer airport. No further response was received from the airplane. The last recorded radar data was at 1910. The radar showed the airplane was about 2 miles from the closer airport at 2,000 feet MSL and traveling northbound at about 80 knots groundspeed. About 1918, the police department received notification of a downed aircraft. The cabin area of the fuselage, left and right inboard fuel tank sections, and upper forward section of the empennage were destroyed by a post impact fire. An on-scene investigation and follow up examinations revealed no-pre-impact anomalies. The airplane's track was reviewed in reference to satellite images of the area. The airplane had over flown open fields prior to impact.

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

The non-mechanical loss of engine power for undetermined reasons during cruise flight and the unsuitable terrain the pilot selected for the forced landing. A factor was the tree that was impacted during the forced landing. An additional factor was the inadequate planned approach during the forced landing when the pilot over flew open fields on the way to the intended airfield.

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