NTSB Identification: CEN11FA125
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 22, 2010 in Wheeling, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/17/2012
Aircraft: BEECH C24R, registration: N5293M
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 stated that the engine operated normally during the three pretakeoff run-ups that he performed. He stated that, after takeoff, the airplane began to sink, and he retracted the flaps at an altitude of about 200 feet above ground level. He turned the airplane back toward the airport, at which time the engine began to vibrate and lose power. The pilot leveled the wings, and the airplane contacted the roof of a building before descending into a parking lot where it struck five cars, and a postimpact fire ensued. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane having difficulty gaining altitude after takeoff. They reported that the airplane was in a nose-high attitude and that the wings were rocking back and forth. They stated that the airplane banked abruptly to the left and descended, that the landing gear remained extended, and that the flaps were retracted. The witnesses who heard the engine stated that it sounded normal during the takeoff. The engine had been overhauled and the airplane had been flown for 1 hour prior to the accident. The person who flew the airplane at that time stated it operated normally. Although a postaccident examination found foreign debris inside the fuel servo inlet strainer, the debris was most likely a result of the fuel servo being exposed to intense heat during the postimpact fire. All three propeller blades exhibited rotational signatures. Aircraft maintenance records and an inspection of the engine revealed that a low-pressure fuel pump had been installed on the engine during the engine overhaul instead of a high pressure pump. The low-pressure pump likely could not produce enough fuel pressure to sustain engine operation.

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

The installation of the wrong engine-driven fuel pump, which resulted in a loss of engine power during takeoff, and the pilot's subsequent decision to turn back toward the airport at an insufficient altitude to complete the maneuver. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control.

Full narrative available

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