NTSB Identification: CEN11LA148
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 18, 2010 in Des Moines, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2011
Aircraft: BEECH H35, registration: N5537D
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that a few minutes after takeoff the airplane's alternator indicated a discharge condition. He elected to return to the departure airport. On final approach to land, about 100 feet above ground level, the engine lost power. The airplane impacted short of the runway, striking an airport security fence. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel strainer and fuel line to the engine contained no fuel. The fuel selector was found in the OFF position. When moved to the main or auxiliary tank positions fuel flowed to the fuel line at the engine. About 2 gallons of fuel remained in the left main tank and about 3 gallons in each auxiliary tank. There was no fuel visible in the right main fuel tank. The unusable fuel for each main tank is 3 gallons, and 0.5 gallon for each auxiliary tank. No other anomalies were found with the airplane's systems. The pilot said that he had departed with the fuel selector set to the left main fuel tank as required by the pilot’s operating handbook.

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 fuel planning.

Full narrative available

Index for Dec2010 | Index of months