CHI97LA224
CHI97LA224

On July 24, 1997, at 1704 central daylight time (cdt), a Beech B- 23, N9120T, was destroyed after impacting a commercial building during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power on initial climb out. The private pilot reported serious injuries. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The flight departed Watertown Municipal Airport, Watertown, Wisconsin, at 1700 cdt, with the intended destination of Watertown, Wisconsin.

According to the pilot's written statement he was picking up his airplane after maintenance and was attempting to return home. The pilot said the airplane was in maintenance because he had damaged the left wing last winter when he ran off the end of his private airstrip and "...bumped a piece of equipment." The pilot wanted to conduct two touch and go's before leaving the terminal area. In a telephone conversation with the pilot, he said he flew one successful touch and go and had stated "...engine seemed fine." The pilot stated the fuel selector was on the right tank. Both fuel tanks were full. The pilot does not recall what happened during the second touch and go. He stated he has lost his memory of the event.

Witnesses stated that the airplane's engine appeared not to be running and that the airplane banked steeply to the left followed by the steep bank to the right before they lost sight of it. They said that fuel was observed running out of the right fuel tank at the accident site.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector represented the NTSB during the on-scene investigation. The Inspector's visual inspection did not reveal any mechanical problems that would have resulted in a total power loss. The investigation indicates the engine was not running at the time of impact. Flight and engine control continuity checks were normal. Both fuel tanks contained sufficient fuel, however, the right tank drained due to impact damage and a good sample could not be obtained. The fuel selector was on the right tank. The accident site was located one-half mile north east of the airport, on a line extending from between runway 05/23 and its parallel taxiway on the north side. The wreckage lay in a one-acre field between a two story industrial building on the west. On the south side was a one-story storage building and some trees approximately 100 feet tall. The north side is bordered by high tension power lines approximately 70 feet high.

A mechanic of Wisconsin Aviation stated that the left wing was replaced and the airplane was painted prior to the flight. He further stated that the pilot had drained and saved the fuel, and put it back into the airplane prior to the flight.

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