NTSB Identification: CEN09FA405
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 03, 2009 in Weslaco, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/17/2010
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N2043D
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.

Both main tanks and the left tip tank were filled with fuel prior to departure. When attempting to fuel the right tip tank, the fuel nozzle broke loose and fell into the tip tank. The pilot was unable to retrieve the broken nozzle, and no fuel was added to the tip tank, therefore the aircraft took off with a fuel imbalance between the tanks. The pilot occupied the right seat and another occupant who poissessed a student pilot certificate occupied the left seat. The supplemental type certificate (STC) directive regarding tip tank balance had not been complied with. During flight, the fuel imbalance resulted in a left rolling tendency. The pilot attempted to land at the nearest airfield, and configured the airplane with 10 degrees of flaps, which was contrary to the STC. During the landing, the airplane bounced and began to drift to the left towards the edge of the runway surface. The pilot performed a go-around and elected to turn left to enter the downwind pattern. During the left turn, directional control of the airplane was lost, and the airplane descended and impacted terrain. An examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. Fracture and bending signatures on the throwover style control column and hub were consistent with the controls being positioned toward the left seat during the accident sequence. It is unknown whether the flight was instructional, and it could not be conclusively determined which occupant was at the controls at the time of the accident.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while operating with a fuel imbalance. Contributing to the accident was the pilot/owner's decision to fly the airplane outside of the operating limitations.

Full narrative available

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