On June 6, 1996, at 2030 hours Pacific daylight time, a Beech 23-A24R, N102KB, collided with terrain while making a forced landing from closed traffic at the Modesto City-County Harry Sham Field, Modesto, California. The aircraft was destroyed; however; the pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured. The aircraft was being operated as a personal flight by the pilot/owner when the accident occurred. The flight originated from Modesto at 1930. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that during his prior takeoff roll he had experienced what he thought might be an engine problem. He aborted that takeoff, taxied back to the ramp, and performed another complete engine run-up. The engine ran smoothly so he taxied back for takeoff. After takeoff, the pilot reported that he had climbed about 350 feet agl when the engine suddenly quit. Because of his position over the ground, the pilot indicated that he was not in a location from which he could make a safe landing. He attempted to turn toward more favorable terrain. Unable to reach a suitable forced landing area, he was forced to touch down in area with obstructions. The aircraft came to rest about 0.25 miles from the departure end of runway 28L. The pilot told Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors that he had taken off with half full fuel tanks and with the fuel boost pump switch in the on position.

The FAA airworthiness inspector requested that an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic with inspection authorization (IA) examine the accident aircraft and provide him with a report. The mechanic reported that he checked the fuel in the aircraft and found approximately 3 ounces at the left tank drain valve and approximately .5 gallon at the right tank drain valve. He also found about two drops of fuel in the fuel injection servo, but no fuel at the firewall line fitting. The fuel selector was in the off position. He said that it is a common practice for fire department personnel to turn the fuel selector off after an aircraft is involved in an accident. He did not observe any evidence of fluid leaks or discontinuity in the fuel system.

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