NTSB Identification: WPR12LA201
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 12, 2012 in Pope Valley, CA
Aircraft: BEECH 3NM, registration: N9540
Injuries: 3 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 12, 2012, about 1230 Pacific daylight time, a Beech model 3NM twin-engine airplane, N9540, was substantially damaged during a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Pope Valley airport (05CL), Pope Valley, California. The pilot/owner and the two passengers received minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no FAA flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the pilot, engine start and run-up were normal. After takeoff from runway 10, when the airplane had reached an altitude of about 50 feet above ground level, the right engine "died," and the left engine "sputtered." The landing gear had not yet been retracted, and the pilot continued straight ahead, and put the airplane down in a vineyard adjacent to the airport. The warplane slowed and then nosed over onto its back. The pilot secured the airplane, and all three persons exited on their own. Fuel was observed to be leaking from the airplane, but there was no fire. The nose, wings, and vertical stabilizers all sustained substantial damage. Several hours after the event, the airplane was righted and moved to a hangar for subsequent examination by NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel.

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1952, and was equipped with Pratt and Whitney R-985 engines. The airplane originally served in the Canadian armed forces, and was sold to an individual in the United States in 1972. It was registered to the current owner in 2002. According to the maintenance records, the airplane had a total time in service of approximately 7,908 hours, and its most recent annual inspection was completed in November 2011.

FAA records indicated that the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, single engine sea, multi-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. According to the pilot, he had a total flight experience of approximately 7,900 hours, including approximately 1,800 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in September 2011.

The 1953 automated weather observation at an airport located 21 miles west of 05CL included winds from 190 degrees at 8 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear skies; temperature 26 degrees C; dew point 12 degrees C; and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of mercury.

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