On February 18, 1999, about 0730 hours mountain standard time, a Beech F33, N8253C, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing approximately 40 miles west of Prescott, Arizona. The forced landing was precipitated by a loss of engine power during cruise. The airplane was owned and operated by Airline Training Center Arizona, Inc., under 14 CFR Part 91 as an instructional flight. The private pilot and his pilot rated passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was filed. The airplane departed its home base in Goodyear, Arizona, about 0640, for a cross-country flight to Palm Springs, California. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The route of flight was to take them to Drake VOR, then Kingman, Arizona, and on to Palm Springs. The company reported that two pilots would fly a cross-country together; one would fly the outbound leg and the other the return. The pilot stated he was in cruise flight west of the Drake VOR at 8,500 mean sea level (msl) when the engine began to run rough. He verified the engine power controls were in their normal positions. Then the engine quit, and he noted the fuel pressure was reading zero. He turned on the auxiliary fuel pump and tried the restart procedure. Fuel pressure was still zero and the engine was wind milling at 1600 rpm (revolutions per minute). He stated he switched tanks and kept the auxiliary fuel pump on. The restart procedure was tried again, but fuel pressure remained zero. He attempted a glide to the Hill Ranch dirt landing strip, elevation 5,700 feet. He could not make it to the strip and landed several hundred feet short in rough terrain. The nose gear folded under, the left wing was crushed, and one propeller blade was damaged. The pilot secured the cockpit and followed the passenger out of the airplane.
According to the company a standard policy was for pilots to switch fuel tanks with every heading change. During the course of this flight the tanks had been changed several times and the engine operated normally. Tanks had last been switched 6 to 8 minutes before the occurrence. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector on scene verified the left tank was full and the right tank was down to the bottom of the filler neck.
On April 9, 1999, a FAA airworthiness inspector examined the airplane at Air Transport in Phoenix, Arizona. The airplane was secured on a trailer and a serviceable propeller was installed. Both wings were off and a 5-gallon fuel supply was attached to the fuel system at the right wing root fuel line fitting. The inspector noted the fuel selector valve was checked and operated normally. The engine was primed, started, and run through the complete power range. A 50-rpm drop was observed when each magneto was checked at 1,700 rpm. The inspector observed normal fuel flows and said leaning of the mixture was normal. No mechanical problems were encountered during the engine run and the engine shut down normally.