NTSB Identification: ATL06FA129.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 23, 2006 in Alabaster, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Beech F-33A, registration: N8148R
Injuries: 3 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.
Witnesses heard the airplane engine sputter and lose power on initial take off climb. The nose of the airplane was observed to level out and the engine started and lost power again. The airplane was observed to enter a steep bank to the left estimated between 45 to 100 degrees. The nose of the airplane pitched down and two witnesses observed the airplane level out before it collided with the ground. The Pilot's Operating Handbook states that the airplane would stall with flaps up at 75 knots with a 45-degree angle of bank, and at 85 knots with 60-degree angle of bank. A friend of the pilot who flew in the airplane the day before the accident stated that he thought the left main fuel gauge indicated empty and the right main fuel gauge indicated half full. There was no record indicating that the airplane had been refueled before the pilot started conducting sightseeing flights lasting 10 to 15 minutes each on the day of the accident. One passenger who flew on the first sightseeing flight stated that she could not see both fuel gauges, however one fuel gauge was in the yellow range. A passenger on the second flight stated that the left fuel gauge indicated empty and the right fuel gauge was less than a quarter tank. The Pilot Operating Handbook states in Section II, Limitations, do not take off if fuel quantity gauges indicate in the yellow band or with less than 13 gallons in each main tank. The pilot flew a total of three flights before the accident flight without shutting the airplane down. The airplane holds a total of 40 gallons of fuel in the left and right main fuel tanks. Three gallons of fuel are unusable in each fuel tank. The left and right main fuel tanks were ruptured and there was no evidence of fuel or browning of vegetation at the crash site. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction of the airframe, flight controls, or engine assembly and accessories.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering toward an emergency landing area following the total loss of engine power shortly after takeoff resulting in an inadvertent stall, uncontrolled descent, and collision with the ground, and a fence. A factor in the accident was the pilot's improper fuel management resulting in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Full narrative available
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