On November 5, 1997, at about 1500 mountain standard time, a Beech J35, N171Y, was substantially damaged after the engine lost power and collided with terrain at Provo, UT. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Part 91, and no flight plan was filed.

According to the pilot, he departed Salt Lake City approximately 1415 MST, flew to Provo, Utah, and made a full flap touch and go landing on runway 18. He retracted the flaps, applied full power, and lifted off. As the airplane began its initial climb, he retracted the landing gear. As the gear doors closed, the engine lost power. The pilot lowered the nose to maintain airspeed, turned on the boost pump, and "checked fuel selector and magnetos." The engine failed to respond. The pilot then lowered the landing gear, but the airplane impacted the runway prior to full gear extension. The aircraft came to rest near the end of the runway.

According to the FAA inspector who went to the scene, the majority of the pilot's flight experience had been in the Cessna 182, and he had recently received a checkout in the Beech J35. The fuel selector was found positioned on the left auxiliary tank. The tank was empty. There was fuel in both the left and right main tanks. According to the operator, only one gallon of fuel is maintained in each auxiliary tank since they are rarely used. The pilot said that when he flew the Cessna 182, he would always switch from either the left or right main tank to BOTH when he was on the downwind leg. On the accident flight, he switched from the left main to the left auxiliary tank.

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