NTSB Identification: ERA09FA303
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 25, 2009 in Daytona Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/12/2010
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER 500 S, registration: N73U
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 pilot departed in the twin-engine airplane with an unknown quantity of fuel and a fuel quantity indicating system that was known to be inaccurate. Immediately after takeoff, approximately 1/2 mile beyond the departure end of the runway, witnesses reported the engine noise from the accident airplane as "surging" as the airplane passed overhead, and one witness described a "radical" turn back to the airport. Two witnesses stated that only one engine was running, and added that it was "revving," and would then stop before revving up again. During the descent to the airport, radar data showed the airplane at 93 knots 700 feet and 1 mile from the runway, and at 90 knots at 500 feet and 1/2 mile from the runway, but the airplane crashed prior to the approach end of the runway. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of a preaccident mechanical malfunction. The fuel system had a capacity of 226 gallons, was serviced through a single port on top of the left wing, and the tanks were interconnected to a center fuel sump that fed both engines. The fuel cells were opened through access panels and each was intact and contained only trace amounts of fuel. The airplane was leveled, the drain petcock was opened at the center fuel cell sump, and 1 quart of fuel was drained.

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

A total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection.

Full narrative available

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