LAX98LA035
LAX98LA035

On November 7, 1997, at 1730 hours Pacific standard time, a Beech C23, N3724Z, lost power during a go-around from runway 7 at the Corona Municipal Airport, Corona, California. The airplane landed about 1/2 mile east of the airport in a field and was substantially damaged. The certificated private pilot and three passengers were not injured. The airplane was being operated by Air Accord, San Jose, California, as a rental airplane. The flight originated from the Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, refueled in Bakersfield, California, at 1615, and was destined for Gillespie Field in San Diego, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot indicated he had refueled the airplane with 19.2 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline at the Bakersfield Municipal Airport. He also indicated that the preflight did not reveal any evidence of contamination or water in the fuel. The pilot departed the airport and climbed to 11,500 feet msl. About 1 hour into the flight, the pilot descended to 9,500 feet msl. While in the descent, the pilot turned the boost pump on and switched the fuel selector from the left tank to the right tank. The engine ran rough and was "hesitant." The pilot reported that he switched the fuel pump back on and went back to the left tank and the engine ran normally. He also turned the carburetor heat on and concluded that the rough engine "was not caused by carburetor icing."

The pilot elected to make a precautionary landing before nightfall, with the fuel selector on the left tank. During his descent he switched back to the right tank and the engine ran rough again. He located Corona Airport and decided to land there. He was not able to receive a traffic advisory and was unable to see the windsock, so he planned his approach to runway 7. On final approach, the pilot realized he had a tail wind and was too high and fast. He added power to initiate a go-around, but the engine was sluggish and the airplane would not climb.

The pilot selected an open field for an off-airport emergency landing. He indicated the stall warning horn was sounding as he cleared wires to make the field and the engine "lost whatever sporadic bursts of power [it had]." The airplane then brushed the tops of some trees and touched down in the field. The nose gear struck a rock during the landing roll and collapsed, damaging the firewall.

The aircraft was recovered and the engine was removed from the airframe. A test run was performed and the engine operated approximately 5 minutes through the full range of operation with and without the electric fuel pump on the left fuel tank. The same test was performed on the right tank. The engine operated normally to full power.

Approximately 5.6 gallons of fuel were drained from the left tank. The left fuel quantity indicator read "top of the yellow arc" before draining and "empty" with all the fuel removed. About 17.9 gallons were drained from the right tank. The right fuel quantity indicator read "3/4 full" prior to draining the fuel, and "empty" after the fuel was drained. No debris, water, or restrictions were noted in the fuel lines, carburetor bowl, or fuel strainer.

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