NTSB Identification: ERA13LA285
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 13, 2013 in Oxford, NC
Aircraft: BEECH A23, registration: N3542R
Injuries: 2 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 June 13, 2013, about 1010 eastern daylight time, a Beech A23, N3542R, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a wheat field, following a total loss of engine power during approach to Henderson-Oxford Airport (HNZ), Oxford, North Carolina. The commercial pilot and flight instructor incurred minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated from HNZ about 1000.
The flight instructor reported that the commercial pilot had a medical condition for which his insurance carrier required him to fly with a certified flight instructor. The commercial pilot performed the preflight inspection of the airplane while the flight instructor retrieved headsets from a fixed based operator. As such, the flight instructor did not witness the preflight inspection. When the flight instructor returned, the commercial pilot told him there were 20 gallons of fuel in the left main fuel tank and a lesser quantity in the right main fuel tank, which was confirmed by the fuel gauges.
The airplane departed runway 24 uneventfully and the commercial pilot completed one touch-and-go landing. The flight instructor also completed one touch-and-go landing and then flew toward a local navigational beacon about 2,000 feet above ground level for a practice instrument approach. About 1/2 mile from the beacon, the flight instructor noticed that the engine power decreased from 2,300 rpm to 2,000 rpm. The flight instructor performed a 180-degree turn back toward the airport and noticed that during the turn, the engine power twice increased to 2,300 rpm, followed by a degrease to 2,000 rpm. At the completion of the turn, the engine lost all power.
While gliding toward the airport, the commercial pilot moved the fuel selector from the left main fuel tank position to the right main fuel tank position. Subsequently, the engine momentarily regained power to 2,000 rpm, but then lost all power again. The flight instructor turned on the boost pump and similarly the engine regained power to 2,000 rpm, followed by a total loss of power. The flight instructor was not able to glide to the airport and performed a forced landing to a field prior to the airport.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, during the landing, the airplane impacted a berm and sustained substantial damaged to the left wing and fuselage. The inspector observed that the right main fuel tank remained intact and did not contain any fuel. The left main fuel tank was compromised during the accident. However, about 2 gallons of fuel remained in the left main fuel tank and the inspector did not smell any odor or see any evidence of spilled fuel on the vegetation underneath the left wing.
Further examination of the engine was planned following recovery from the field.
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