On April 21, 1996, at 1311 hours Pacific daylight time, a Beech V35B aircraft, N8711V, lost engine power and impacted a fence and terrain while on final approach to runway 25 at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, Santa Barbara, California. The aircraft was destroyed and the commercial pilot and one passenger were seriously injured. The flight departed Salinas, California, approximately 1.5 hours earlier and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that the trip originated in Van Nuys, California, the previous day and that he had flown to Salinas, remained overnight, and then flown on to Santa Barbara on the day of the accident. The fuel tanks were full leaving Van Nuys and the aircraft was not serviced in Salinas. The pilot reported draining all three fuel sumps at Van Nuys, and again prior to departing Salinas. He reported flying RNAV direct from Van Nuys to Salinas at 8,500 feet in about 1.5 hours, drawing fuel from the right-hand tank.
The next day he departed Salinas en route to Santa Barbara on the left fuel tank and flew the first 25 minutes before returning to the right fuel tank for the remainder of the trip and up to the time the engine lost power. He navigated to Santa Barbara via Big Sur, Morro Bay, and Gaviota VORTAC's at "various" altitudes, but high enough to clear the mountains north of Santa Barbara.
Descending into Santa Barbara at reduced power, he was cleared to enter left-hand traffic for runway 25 and continued his descent from cruise through downwind and base leg. When established on final approach, he added power to adjust the aircraft's rate of descent and there was no response from the engine. He switched to the left fuel tank and turned on the electric boost pump but the engine did not respond in the time remaining before impact. The pilot told the NTSB investigator that prior to the engine failure it had been operating normally and that there was no warning of the pending failure, no roughness, no misfire and no coughing. He did not recall what the fuel quantity gauges read approaching Santa Barbara.
An inspector from the FAA's Flight Standards District Office at Van Nuys reported that the aircraft impacted a chain link fence about 300 feet short of the runway 25 threshold, then crossed a 2-lane road, impacted a highway sign, crossed a dirt shoulder, and came to rest in a flood control channel about 200 feet from the runway. A postcrash fire consumed the passenger cabin, instrument panel, and right wing root area near the fuel tank. The fuel selector in the aircraft was found in the "left" tank position and there was only about 1 pint of fuel in the left tank. The right tank was destroyed by impact with the sign post and post crash fire.
About 2 teaspoons of liquid were recovered from the engine fuel system components and exhibited a blackish/brown appearance. The fuel system components on the rear of the engine were exposed to the postcrash fire and fire extinguishing and several fuel fittings were broken off the fuel metering unit. The liquid was in two dissimilar parts, and over a period of several days the brownish substance attached itself to the walls of the glass container. The two samples were sent to Core Laboratories in Long Beach, California, for analysis, along with a sample of fuel taken from the fuel truck which last serviced the aircraft. The truck sample was drawn on May 2, 1996. Because of the small quantity of liquid recovered from the engine fuel system, the laboratory was unable to perform a simulated distillation. A test for microbes in the oil was performed on that sample and was negative. A simulated distillation was performed on the fuel sample from the servicing truck. The samples were repackaged and returned to storage with the aircraft. A copy of the Core Laboratories report is attached.
The engine from the aircraft was installed on a test stand and run at the Teledyne Continental Motors facility in Mobile, Alabama. Their report is also attached. Following the engine run the engine was crated and returned to storage at National Aircraft Salvage in Long Beach.