CHI94LA254
CHI94LA254

On July 31, 1994, 2215 central daylight time, a Beech 33, N7960M, sustained substantial damage when it impacted trees following a loss of engine power while on approach to Jabara Airport, Wichita, Kansas. The private pilot and one passenger received minor injuries, the second passenger received serious injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight originated in New Lennox, Illinois, at 1900. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

During a telephone interview, the pilot stated both fuel tanks were topped off with fuel prior to his departure for the estimated three hour and ten minute flight. Thirty minutes after departing New Lennox, the pilot stated he switched the selected fuel tank and then switched tanks every hour for the remainder of the flight. The mixture control, he stated, was adjusted throughout the flight.

The pilot stated at approximately fifty miles from Wichita at a cruising altitude of 10,500 feet MSL, he contacted Wichita Air Traffic Control (ATC). ATC cleared N7960M to descend to 5,500 feet MSL and then gave him several vectors for approximately five minutes due to other traffic in the local area. After being cleared to descend to traffic pattern altitude, the pilot stated he had a hard time locating Jabara Airport. He stated that it took him "...a couple of minutes" to locate the airport.

After locating Jabara, the pilot overflew the airport and entered the traffic pattern in preparation for landing. While on the downwind leg for runway 18, the airplane's engine lost all power.

The pilot stated he immediately switched the selected fuel tank and turned on the boost pump. The pilot stated the engine started and ran for approximately three seconds before losing all power again. He immediately switched the selected tank again and turned on the boost pump. Again, the engine started and ran for approximately three seconds but then lost all power. Believing that he would not be able to make it to the runway, the pilot turned the airplane into the wind, retracted the landing gear, and made a forced landing.

The pilot stated he believes there should have been approximately thirty gallons of fuel remaining, 17 gallons in one tank, and 13 gallons in the other at the time of the accident.

N7960M has a 80 gallon fuel capacity, 74 gallons of which are usable. Postaccident investigation revealed the left fuel tank was empty and the right tank contained approximately 20 gallons. The fuel selector handle was found 1/4 to 1/8 rotation out of the right fuel tank selection detent. Both fuel tanks were intact and undamaged.

During the postaccident engine test run, the engine started immediately without incident. The engine was run up to 2750 RPM and meet all manufacturer perameters and specifications.

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